Tutors getting creative to connect with students online

As students are entering the last few weeks of school from home, one Atlanta tutoring company is desperately trying to make sure it is connecting with students who may be falling behind. Tutors with non-profit We Read Together Atlanta normally rely on face to face tutoring, so virtual learning has made their work much tougher.

Kenny Hill runs the non-profit and said he's had to adapt how he and his volunteers operate. "Our program is really hands-on," said Hill. "The children gravitate towards the concept of volunteers who come see them every week," he said.

With schools now closed until the end of the year, the volunteers are working virtually. "There's kind of a disconnect," said Hill. "We're working to try and reconnect with them all because getting that level of trust is a big piece in them sharing what their struggles are and being willing to try," he said.

Their students are all in elementary school, and many don't have their own devices. Hill and his team said they work with the parents on this to coordinate help for students who need it--a new relationship they've started to foster in the wake of the pandemic.

The tutors aren't always able to access the school devices, even though this non-profit is partnered directly with multiple Atlanta Public Schools. 

Hill said he's learning how to better reach his students through working with his own kids at home. His tips to parents on successfully getting through the school day: plan the day out, and build in time for breaks and fun activities to keep their attention engaged in actual school work.

Hill said building relationships with his students' families is a crucial connection in making sure students don't fall behind.

With an effort from parents and educators alike, the final gap to be closed is getting more technology in students' hands:

If you think your child could use some reading help, connect with the non-profit HERE.

Additionally, Hill recommends checking your local library for summer programming to help your students stay sharp while not in school.