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New ‘Tutor Charlotte’ push seeks hundreds of math and reading volunteers for CMS

Katerina Holmes
A new collaborative dubbed Tutor Charlotte is pushing to get 800 more tutors into classrooms as quickly as possible.

Business executives, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and groups that recruit tutors are working together to find hundreds more volunteers to help students master reading and math.

A new collaborative dubbed Tutor Charlotte is pushing to get 800 more tutors into classrooms as quickly as possible. The volunteers, who work during school hours, will supplement the work done by CMS staff and by groups that provide paid tutors when school isn’t in session.

“We need tutors because tutoring is essential to get our students back on track and feeling confident in their coursework and showing up to school every day,” said LaShauna Lowry, an Ally Financial executive on loan to work with the CMS deputy superintendent.

Even before the pandemic disrupted in-person classes in 2020 and 2021, many students struggled to master math and reading. The Charlotte Executive Leadership Council, which has created a partnership with CMS to fill some executive posts in the district at no cost to taxpayers, is helping the district line up tutors for three groups that provide volunteer tutors in schools:

  • The Augustine Literacy Project provides reading assistance in elementary schools. Volunteers are asked to commit to two hours a week with a child and can work online or in person.
  • Helps Education Fund uses volunteers to do online reading help. Tutors are asked to commit at least one hour a week.
  • Heart Math Tutoring is looking for volunteers to work at least one hour a week, virtually or in person,  with CMS students.

Find information about all three programs at TutorCharlotte.org.

The tutoring initiative also includes Read Charlotte, which does research and advocacy to promote better reading skills, including programs parents can use to help their children.

All three groups provide training, so volunteers don’t need teaching or tutoring experience. Lowry says they want “people with passion, people who want to make a difference and want to make an impact, who are willing to lean in with these kids and build a relationship with them.”

Intensive tutoring, done one-on-one or in small groups, is viewed as a key to helping students bridge racial disparities and make up ground lost during the pandemic. CMS is spending $50 million in federal COVID-19 aid to contract with groups that provide tutoring services for students in low-performing schools. The volunteers provide additional help at more schools.

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Ann Doss Helms has covered education in the Charlotte area for over 20 years, first at The Charlotte Observer and then at WFAE. Reach her at ahelms@wfae.org or 704-926-3859.