After the latest announcement by Governor Northam, we have decided that our office will remain closed through at least Wednesday, June 10.
Our hearts go out to all who have been impacted by COVID-19. To our students, volunteers, and contributors, we miss you and want to stay in touch! We want our tutors and students to stay in communication with us, and each other. We need to stay connected, now more than ever, in this time of physical distancing.
We hope our learning pairs are succeeding with lessons conducted over the phone or online. Any volunteer facing technical challenges should reach out to our office for help. Current students can contact Maureen if they'd like access to online computer learning accounts.
We will communicate any further decisions via email, our website, and social media. We wish you all well.
This is a constantly evolving situation. Our priority is the health of all people involved in the organization, and we will be vigilant and make informed decisions about all activities over the coming weeks. We will regularly be updating and communicating policies to keep people as safe as possible. Please check this page for updates.
The staff has rearranged priorities for the time being, since we do not get to see our students and volunteers every day. We have had several projects “on the back burner” for a while, so we are tackling them now. Most notably, we are developing a few online training modules for our volunteers to augment our usual in-person sessions, and we are converting to a new database system. These projects will help our organizational infrastructure and make us more efficient when we resume.
We discourage all one-to-one in-person tutoring. While we recommend that tutors and students continue lessons through virtual methods, we understand if instructional hours are not met during this time.
We'd like all tutors to check-in with their students at least once a week. A simple text message or phone call will do. Tutors should continue to turn in tutor reports. Let us know if you are or are not meeting (virtually), share tips you've used for staying in touch or completing lessons, let us know how you are fairing during this time.
In an effort to stay in touch, we will continue our tutor and student newsletters. We'll include our learning tips and any tips that are shared by other students and tutors. Staff will also continue to be available via email.
For the protection of all, please do not use an issued key to access the office while we are closed.
For those interested in meeting digitally, there are several options you can use. Whether via phone, the internet, or email, lessons can be given remotely using technology.
Many English language learners are concerned about their skills in having phone calls with native English speakers. This could be a good time to practice those skills by having a couple of phone calls during the week.
Many of our students already use Skype, FaceTime, or Facebook Messenger to communicate with friends and family members. Why not put that to use in your tutoring as well? These apps allow video chatting for free (they use data or wifi instead of your phone service), and can allow you to meet.
If the student is predominately working on reading and writing, assigning a story to read and having your student email their response to your questions could be a way to continue your work together. You could use a site like Newsela.com, which has leveled news stories for English language learners with study questions already prepared. Newslea does require that you set up an account - free accounts are available.
Or perhaps you could use a combination of all of these. Pick a few stories from Newsela, and have a phone call about which would be the best one to work on. Then the student could read the story on his/her own time, write the response, and email it to the tutor. You can then use Skype to discuss the changes and corrections needed.
The great thing is all of this counts as instructional time. While you may not meet the full 8 hours you normally do in a month, it can provide some instruction in times when you cannot meet.
Additional ideas and resources can be found on the Tutor Resources page of our website.
For questions about distance learning options, please contact Steven at firstname.lastname@example.org.