SIU System campuses partner to provide tutoring for K-12 students who have fallen behind during pandemic

Carbondale - Edwardsville, IL. — The SIU Carbondale and SIU Edwardsville Schools of Education are partnering with colleges and universities across the state to provide high impact tutoring supporting students whose learning has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Illinois Tutoring Initiative program, overseen by the Illinois Board of Higher Education will focus on school districts disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Funding for the initiative comes from the federal government’s investment of nearly $8 billion in pandemic relief for Illinois schools.

“This is a great opportunity for SIU to showcase the strength of our system, with both campuses joining together to provide a much-needed boost to our K-12 students,” said SIU System President Dan Mahony. “Thanks to our dedicated faculty, staff and students, we’re going to help families in our region recover faster from learning challenges created by COVID.”

The $25 million, two-year effort, administered through Illinois State University will provide tutoring for approximately 8,500 Illinois students. It is designed so participating school districts will identify students in need, the areas in which they need tutoring (literacy or mathematics) and the format – either individual or small group. Eligible students will participate primarily in face-to-face tutoring sessions for at least three hours per week over a period of 8 weeks to the entire semester.  Online tutoring sessions are an alternative for districts as necessitated and for online high school math tutoring.

“We’ve all gone through some pretty tough times and our young learners are not exempt from that, especially those who have struggled with online learning over these past two years. This partnership, internally within the SIU System and externally with our sister institutions is a great example of how colleges and universities can make a difference beyond our borders,” said Gireesh Gupchup, SIU System Vice President for Academic Innovation, Planning and Partnerships.

Tutors will include college students, retired teachers and community members across the state. They will be trained by College of Education professionals at Illinois State University. Besides the SIU campuses, institutional partners include Illinois State University, Governor’s State University, Northern Illinois University, Illinois Central College, and Southeastern Illinois Community College.

“Children, families and educators deserve competent, responsive and equity-oriented university partners ready to collaborate as we address current and persistent inequities that hurt our communities. I am thrilled to join Dean Robin L. Hughes and the School of Education, Health and Human Behavior in this initiative!” Natasha Flowers, Assistant Dean for Anti-racism, Equity, and Inclusion.

Dr. Christie McIntyre, Interim Director of Teacher Education at SIU Carbondale noted that recent research from the Center for School and Student Progress Brief (NWEA, Dec. 2021) indicated student achievement at the beginning of the fall 2021 school year was lower than it was in years prior to the pandemic. Over six million students were assessed in the fall of 2021, and their MAP Growth scores were 9 to 11 percentile points lower in mathematics, while reading scores were 3 to 7 percentile points lower than their peers in 2019. “The Illinois Tutoring Initiative enables educators and teacher candidates to use research-based practices to address the learning needs of our students,” McIntyre said.

More information on the Illinois Tutoring Initiative can be found at isbe.net/Pages/ILTutoringInitiative.aspx.