Albert Lea schools looking for tutors to help struggling students

Published 9:00 pm Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Albert Lea Area Schools could use some help — tutors, specifically.

“We know overall that nearly half of the students in Minnesota struggle with reading or math, and we know because of the pandemic that some of those educational disparities will really be [exacerbated],” said Megan Peterson, senior manager for southern Minnesota for Reading Corps, Math Corps and Early Learning Corps. “We’re seeing that in the Albert Lea district just as we are in many districts across Minnesota and across the nation.”

According to Peterson, Minnesota students have been struggling since before the pandemic.

Email newsletter signup

“We know that teachers and staff and parents have been working really hard to be able to change that,” she said. “I think just with the pandemic, some of that has been difficult to do.”

So the district reached out to Reading Corps, Math Corps and Early Learning Corps for help.

“We work really closely with the administrators in the district as well as with the teachers and staff to be able to provide that extra support,” she said. “They’ve kind of reached out to us and said, ‘Hey, this seems like a great program, we could use this extra support for our students as extra one-on-one tutoring time.’”

Peterson said four reading tutors, along with four math tutors, were requested by the district for next year to support students either individually or in pairs.

Reading Corps, Math Corps and Early Learning Corps have worked with the district since the 2012-13 school year, specifically within the elementary schools. 

The company typically has 1,700 tutors statewide.

During the last year, four reading tutors and four math tutors worked in the district.

According to Peterson, it was not unusual for a college student taking a gap year to serve as a tutor.

“They want to serve for a year, maybe two years, get some experience, earn that education award to be able to put towards schooling,” she said.

They also get parents and retirees.

Anyone interested in applying must be at least 18 and have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. No teaching experience is needed, and trained tutors will serve on-site at a school for 35, 25 or 18 hours a week. All tutors will receive a stipend and up to $4,500 to pay for college tuition or student loans. Anyone 55 or older can gift their education award to their child, grandchild, stepchild or foster child.

“We provide the training,” she said. “We provide the training on how to be a tutor, really focus in on what are we working with kids on in the reading or math?”

Peterson is looking for two reading tutors and four math tutors. If people are interested in applying or have questions, they can visit join.readingandmath.org.

“For anyone considering tutoring with our programs, we talk a lot about how it changes the lives of students, how we can really help them on their academic journey,” Peterson said. “But it really can change the lives of our tutors as well.”