In response to the need for tutoring to supplement the online learning many middle and high school students are facing, the NevadaTeach program at the University of Nevada, Reno has set up opportunities for free virtual tutoring for mathematics and science courses.
NevadaTeach students are offering free virtual tutoring for 6th - 12th grade students in order to contribute to the success of the students in the community. Due to the shift to online learning, NevadaTeach faculty wanted to find a way to help students. Typically, NevadaTeach pre-service teachers apply their knowledge and skills learned within their NevadaTeach coursework to field-based interactions with students in middle and high schools. With distance and hybrid learning, as well as social distance guidelines within schools, these valuable field-based interactions are difficult or impossible to obtain. To allow the pre-service teachers these valuable interactions, the faculty put together free online tutoring. The tutors consist of University of Nevada, Reno students, most of whom are Juniors or Seniors in the NevadaTeach program, who are enrolled in Project-Based Instruction (PBI) during the Fall 2020 semester. The PBI students receive credit in their course for participating in at least four hours of tutoring.
NevadaTeach has reached out to several schools in the Washoe County School District, including four Title I schools, and are looking to expand their reach to meet the needs of the community.
“As instructors of the course, Daniel Gallaher and I were eager to be able to incorporate the virtual tutoring requirements into our Project-Based Instruction course for our students,” NevadaTeach Master Teacher, Mandi Collins says. “The course embeds many elements of how our pre-service teachers can frame community, service, and problem solving to address current issues. Virtual tutoring seemed to us like a way to not only help our students meet the goals of the course, but also help learners in our Nevada communities.”
Collins says she and Gallaher observed the concerns for students and their learning, both as professionals as well as parents themselves. “We are hopeful this is something our program can continue into future semesters, even post-COVID. Supporting the learning of math and science is at the foundation of our work, and it is exciting to explore new ways in which we can reach students while supporting future science and math educators.”
Tutoring is offered on a first-come, first-served basis and will take place entirely online through Microsoft Teams or Zoom. Tutors are assigned by the PBI instructor and NevadaTeach Master Teacher, Mandi Collins, based on the student’s grade level and content area.
“Our STEM outreach and tutoring services has incredible strength in a time when our community needs us the most during the pandemic. I’m very excited to see this program serving our community and the value it adds to our 6th-12th grade students is immeasurable,” said Donald Easton-Brooks, Dean of the College of Education and Human Development.
Students in the NevadaTeach program receive two degrees upon graduation and meet the requirements to apply for licensure in the State of Nevada. Students major in Secondary Education and their choice of a STEM major: Agricultural Science, Atmospheric Science, Biology, Chemistry, Community Health Sciences, Environmental Science, Geography, Geology, Mathematics, Microbiology & Immunology, or Physics. While many graduates from the program have gone on to teach in the Washoe County School District, others are employed in rural communities, Las Vegas, as well as outside Nevada. They also attend a variety of graduate programs or choose to work in the private sector. Since its inception in 2015, NevadaTeach has graduated 49 students, with another eight set to matriculate at the end of 2020.
NevadaTeach virtual tutoring is available free of charge to community members due to the generous support of their donors. For information on how to support NevadaTeach students, please contact Stefanie Givens, Director of Development in the College of Education and Human Development.