Most people go through at least twelve years of school. Throughout this time, many students will form several significant bonds with either a teacher, tutor, counselor, or coach. These relationships are imperative for our youth because adult leaders can help kids tackle issues of all sizes, from algebra homework to college applications. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the US, schools all across the nation were shut down almost immediately. Students were forced to switch to online learning, which stopped many of these critical connections from forming. Additionally, many students did not have access to stable internet or reliable devices to efficiently learn remotely, causing them to fall further behind their peers.
The Founder of World Wise Tutoring, Lindsey Wander, recognized this problem and quickly jumped into action. Lindsey was uniquely prepared to take on this challenge with nearly two decades of education experience, including six years as a classroom teacher in low-income neighborhoods and over ten years running an international tutoring business. She utilized her expertise and resources to form the nonprofit Educate. Radiate. Elevate. in November 2020 to provide personalized learning support to students in need. As our nation becomes increasingly diverse and childhood poverty rates continue to rise, confronting educational inequities is necessary to enhance the well-being and progress of our society.
E.R.E. is Different
E.R.E. is a 501(c)(3) organization to which individuals and organizations can donate tax-deductible funds to sponsor students who have been nominated because of their dedication, achievement, and desire to learn. Donations will provide the selected students with instruction from their high-quality tutors, who will focus on assisting the students with academics and test prep while also teaching them the underlying learning and life skills that will allow students to excel in all classes, in college, in their careers, and beyond. These include essential “soft skills” such as planning and prioritizing, time management, focus, creative problem solving, curiosity, innovation, advocacy, collaboration, and emotional intelligence. Students with good attendance can continue with additional terms of tutoring until they graduate high school.
The tutors at E.R.E. are specially trained to help struggling students. The tutors come from diverse backgrounds of identity and experience, but they are all college-educated and experienced in teaching. Additionally, all of the tutors participate in an ongoing “Culturally Responsive and Trauma-Informed Tutoring” course, which covers subjects such as implicit bias, savior complex, trauma response, and racial consciousness. The course isn’t a simple click-through on the computer. It is interactive, relevant, and continuous. The tutors are also equipped with easily accessible resources and ongoing support regarding these topics so that they can better assist the families they are working with
Nominate a Student!
Using the Student Nomination form, available in English and Spanish, students can nominate themselves or be nominated by a family member, teacher, coach, or neighbor. This makes the program more accessible to students who show promise and commitment. Other agencies have mandated programs that are run through the school or county and have low attendance and rates of improvement. E.R.E.’s Student Nomination process could serve as a model to alleviate those issues. It is essential that the selection process is more accessible to students who need it most.
Many of the students working with E.R.E. have struggles in and out of school. For example, Jennifer* is only twelve years old but has already experienced a great deal of trauma. Her father was murdered by gang members when she was a baby and her mother is incarcerated for drug trafficking. She lives with her grandmother in a community riddled with crime and violence, putting her in a constant state of fear. Jennifer is quiet, shy, and nervous to talk with her peers and her teachers. Her anxiety affects her appetite and sleep patterns, so she usually lacks the energy to pay attention in class and complete her schoolwork. Jennifer is a bright student who has a lot of potential. E.R.E. is helping to provide Jennifer with academic and emotional support to navigate the challenges she faces. With a holistic approach centered on empathy and cultural responsiveness, E.R.E.’s tutors are coaching Jennifer through school and life.
E.R.E. often works with students who have undiagnosed learning difficulties. For example, Christopher* is sixteen and has always struggled in school. He has heard adults call him “lazy” and “unmotivated.” He used to try so hard to make them proud, but it never seemed to work – so he has just given up on learning and gets attention by acting out instead. Christopher doesn’t know why reading is so easy for the other kids. He thinks he is just dumb, whereas, in reality, Christopher has an undiagnosed learning difficulty. Because of Christopher’s learning diffculty, his road to academic success has faced major hurdles. However, his tutor with E.R.E. recognized the signals of this learning difficulty and was able to get his family the free resources to assess and address it. Now Christopher has the tools to manage his challenges more efficiently, and he has since increased his reading score by four grade levels.
How You Can Help
The achievement and opportunity gaps in America’s education system will only widen if our most vulnerable youth are not given the necessary resources. While the gap existed well before the pandemic, recent changes in schooling made the gap widen at an exponential rate. Unfortunately, many public schools don’t have the resources, money, time, or staff to make a significant difference in bridging the growing crevice. This results in many students not being able to achieve as much as they could. E.R.E. is working to close that gap and help elevate kids’ learning so they grow into their full potential. They are creating a more equitable world through education, one student at a time. E.R.E.’s unique approach has already resulted in massive gains. But they can’t continue to run their tutoring programs without funding. Please check out this link to donate.
* Student names have been changed to protect the privacy of the children.