KSU education majors helping local children as virtual tutors
KENNESAW, Ga. (Jun 29, 2020) — After making their own transition to remote learning during spring semester, a group of Kennesaw State University education majors are helping local elementary and middle school students who struggled in their adjustment to virtual coursework amidst the pandemic.
Thirty-one students from KSU’s Bagwell College of Education are working for Marietta City Schools as virtual tutors and mentors this summer, through COVID-19 Response Fund grants from the Georgia Department of Education and the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. The tutors are gaining real-world training toward their careers as teachers while providing one-on-one learning support to K-8 students who struggled with consistent virtual attendance and coursework completion.
“In the essence of a true school-university partnership, the Bagwell College of Education and Marietta City Schools are committed to the preparation of future educators that embraces their active engagement in the school community,” said Stacy Delacruz, interim director of Education Student Services in the Bagwell College. “This virtual summer school tutoring opportunity is a win-win situation for both partners.”
The tutors from Kennesaw State are assigned to specific MCS students for the five-week summer program, meeting online with each child for 30 minutes at least once per week to help them with math and reading. Vanesa Mahlstadt, a junior majoring in elementary education, is tutoring five second-grade students, enabling her to apply what she has learned in her KSU classes to benefit actual students.
“It’s only making me wish I were closer to completing my degree and becoming a teacher,” Mahlstadt said. “One student asked me if I was tutoring other students, and I told her yes. She gasped and said, ‘I’m so happy for them! You are a really good tutor!’ It made my day.”
Another elementary education major, senior Abby Broome, is working with five kindergarten students. She explained that each tutoring session reminds her why she chose her career path, especially when she sees the children light up with excitement anytime they’re reading books.
“This experience is so rewarding to me, as seeing a child learn something new or have a ‘light bulb moment’ is the whole reason I want to become a teacher,” Broome said. “Many kids around the world don’t have access to books, or even have the opportunity to learn. Seeing a child get so excited about getting to read a book warms my heart.”
For some of the tutors, this might be just their beginning with Marietta City Schools. Approximately 60 Kennesaw State students complete their field and clinical experiences with MCS each year, according to Kim Blass, the school district’s director of external affairs.
Blass added that the summer tutoring initiative “is not the first time we have sought unique engagements with the very capable students from KSU.” For example, Marietta City Schools ran a pilot program last year that placed Kennesaw State students who were seeking an elementary ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) endorsement as teaching assistants in a summer enrichment program aimed at English language learners.
“Not only did the KSU students assist in small groups and in one-on-one instruction, but the program provided them with a summer placement option and better equipped them with the skills they need for teaching similar populations,” Blass said.
– Paul Floeckher
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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.