How higher ed is helping to stem COVID learning loss
Children in Michigan got an extra boost in battling COVID-era learning loss this school year from Grand Valley State University.
Anticipating the education challenges ahead in 2020-21, university administrators last summer created K-12 Connect. This school year, volunteers from the university have provided more than 7,000 hours of virtual tutoring to approximately 1,700 local K-12 students, Grand Valley President Philomena V. Mantella says.
Grand Valley State’s 600 tutors and mentors are working with teachers and school districts to align the tutoring with classroom instruction, Mantella says.
“The biggest endorsement we’ve gotten is the increased volume in requests from schools,” Mantella says, “and our students are getting more service learning and experience earlier in the college curriculum.”
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To expand and institutionalize initiatives such as K-12 Connect, the university has also launched the NextEd Accelerator to help incubate programs designed to address issues of equity and opportunity in education, Mantella says.
NextEd Accelerator will also support education entrepreneurs who want to create programs that will quickly impact students who need help the most.
As for the moving tutoring program forward, the university is determined to shift from a volunteer-model to paid tutors, and expanding service to more Title I schools.
“The learning gaps created by COVID will deepen inequality and have devastating impacts for years to come, unless we move quickly and boldly,” Mantella says.