Two of the big buzzwords in education lately are “learning loss” and “teacher shortages.” The North Carolina Education Corps has the potential to help address both of those issues.
“On the most basic level, our corps members are working in schools to extend the reach of teachers to be able to provide literacy support to students,” said NC Education Corps executive director John-Paul Smith.
Tutors Alexis Gordon and Liz Hasty walk the halls of South Johnson Elementary in Scotland County, collecting students from their classrooms to give them specialized small-group reading lessons aimed at mastering the building blocks of reading — like learning letter sounds.
Gordon is a junior at St. Andrews University majoring in education. As a member of the NC Education Corps, she’s also a part-time employee of South Johnson Elementary in Scotland County.
“When you have a kid that comes in the first day and can’t tell you what the letter ‘A’ is, and then two weeks later he knows the letter, knows the sound, you’re like, ‘Ah, pat on the back. I did something,'” said Gordon.
Retired music teacher Liz Hasty works alongside Alexis Gordon and says she enjoys spending time with college students on the other end of their teaching journey.
“It’s a great training ground for people who might want to be a teacher because you have small groups,” Hasty said. “You can really see the impact that you have on these kids when you see their growth.”
Gordon says just by word of mouth, she’s had a couple of friends join the Corps, including one who changed her career goals because of it.
“She’s actually now double majoring as an education major,” Gordon said.
“Tutoring is the intervention of choice for people who can afford it,” said Marlow Artis, the director of school partnerships for the NC Education Corps.
Partner schools and districts hire corps members to provide one-on-one and small group tutoring at no charge during the school day, to help remove barriers to opportunity for students in kindergarten through third grade.
“That’s what we’re doing. It doesn’t matter what your zip code is. It doesn’t matter what your address is,” Artis said. “If your school system is a part of the North Carolina Education Corps, we’re connecting you with that high-impact tutor.”
Ultimately, the goal is for students who receive tutoring from the NC Education Corps to improve in reading and see measurable gains. NC State University’s Friday Institute and Duke University’s Social Science Research Institute are monitoring the program and will evaluate its effectiveness.
Learn more and hear the complete story at the WUNC website.
Excerpted from Liz Schlemmer, WUNC, NC Education Corps tutors are tackling learning recovery and building the teacher pipeline