To accelerate student learning and address COVID-related learning loss, TCNJ’s School of Education announced today it will partner with the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund, in conjunction with Overdeck Family Foundation, to launch the NJ Summer Tutoring Corps Program in late June. The program will provide tutoring this summer for thousands of K–5 students who have experienced pandemic-related learning loss.
TCNJ designed the NJ Summer Tutoring Corps Program based on best practices from other statewide initiatives and research that has consistently demonstrated the power of small-group tutoring to address students’ academic and social-emotional needs and the potential of summer to offer extended learning time.
“NJPRF is proud to collaborate with Overdeck Family Foundation and TCNJ to help New Jersey’s students bridge the learning gap created by the COVID pandemic,” said New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy, Founding Chair of the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund. “TCNJ’s incredible history in training the next generation of New Jersey educators makes them the perfect partner and facilitator for this crucial program.”
The program will recruit tutors from teacher preparation programs at TCNJ and other New Jersey universities, as well as substitute teachers, paraprofessionals, and community members with the appropriate background. Tutors will be matched with children attending summer programming at Boys and Girls Clubs in New Jersey, YMCAs, and other community organizations for eight weeks of mathematics instruction. ELA instruction could be added in the future. TCNJ will take on all program management, including hiring tutors, selecting the curriculum, training tutors, and evaluating the program’s success.
The NJ Summer Tutoring Corps Program is made possible through a combined $2.4 million grant from the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund and John and Laura Overdeck. It is expected to reach over 2,000 students during Summer 2021.
“New Jersey’s reputation as having one of the strongest public school systems in the nation can obscure the fact that some of our youth have always been left behind,” said Suzanne McCotter, dean of TCNJ’s School of Education. “The learning gaps among New Jersey students are not new, but the disparities have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This model creates a tutoring program that can be embedded in established networks of community-based organizations in high-need communities, providing access to tutoring for the families and children who need it most.”
Through the NJ Summer Tutoring Corps Program, each tutor will work with groups of three to four students in one-hour sessions, meeting three times per week. This offers students consistent relationships and ongoing assessment of learning growth.
A recent study found that the majority of New Jersey’s students in grades 3-8 at the start of the 2020-21 school year were not on grade level due to COVID. In some New Jersey school districts, students have alternated between remote and in-person learning, while in others, students have been fully remote for the entire school year. Regardless of which method of learning students have been a part of, bridging the digital divide to provide equal access to technology, learning-related equipment, and other crucial materials has been a focus for NJPRF and the State of New Jersey this past year.
“The learning loss caused by the pandemic is nothing short of an emergency, and it is imperative to address it before the coming school year,” said Laura Overdeck, chair of Overdeck Family Foundation and a founding board member of the NJPRF. “It has been an honor to work with The College of New Jersey, the Boys and Girls Clubs in New Jersey, and others to create a tutoring program designed to accelerate student learning and help students recover both academically and socio-emotionally from the pandemic. Their futures depend on it.”
TCNJ hopes to extend the NJ Summer Tutoring Corps Program into the 2021-2022 academic year, pending funding availability, allowing tutors and site coordinators to continue working with students for 10 hours per week, primarily during after-school hours.
You can find more information about the program here at education.tcnj.edu/summer-tutoring/. If you are interested in supporting or participating in the NJ Summer Tutoring Corps Program, please contact Eileen Heddy at TutorNJfirstname.lastname@example.org.