SUSAN ELZEY Special to Registry & Bee
A local tutoring program is looking for a few good tutors.
The Danville Church & Tutorial Program, formerly known as the Danville Church-Based Tutoring Program, received a grant that will allow the organization to pay tutors up to $50 per hour.
“We’ve been around for 26 years and we’ve really exploded now,” said Kenneth Lewis, Executive Director. “God has blessed us.”
The organization has received an Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief Grant that will allow it to partner with Danville Public Schools for after-school tutoring at city sites for children in need of catch up on their academic delay.
The fund provides grants to local education agencies to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on K-12 students.
The grant will provide $536,000 over the next three years.
“The idea is to connect the school system to the community and bridge that gap,” Lewis explained.
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Tutors in the Danville program used to be volunteers, but now there is money to pay them.
“Our weekly tutoring program can now pay $20 per hour for tutors with a two-year degree and $30 for those with a four-year degree. On weekends and for our special programs, teachers and other four-year degree holders can earn $50 an hour,” Frazier said.
The organization is also looking for new sites and organizations to become its partners.
“Before COVID, we were serving 558 students at 42 tutoring sites,” said Shakeva Frazier, assistant principal. “Currently we have 30 tutoring sites serving approximately 330 students. We have served over 7,000 students over the past 25 years. Our goal is to have 75 centres.
She said the tutoring program will come to a site, set up a computer lab, do the necessary training and provide a budget to the site. The basic model is that each center has a coordinator and an assistant coordinator as well as four tutors.
The organization also has locations in Pittsylvania County, but the latest grant is specific to schools in the city.
The tutoring group’s primary funding typically comes from grants and fundraising, with the United Way and the Danville Regional Foundation being the most consistent sources of grants, Lewis said.
Frazier said that during the pandemic, the program found a way to work online, at first completely virtual, then with limited attendance.
But there are still 20 sites that have not reopened, many of them in churches that are still only virtual, she said.
“We try to put centers in places where there are children, like housing estates,” Lewis said. “Then about 30% of sites provide transportation.”
He explained that children come to the centers, have a snack and a devotional, and then work on their homework. There are also smaller groups for remedial and computer programs if the children do not have specific homework.
“Probably 75% of our students are in elementary school and 15% in middle school working at or below their grade level,” he said.
Student success is measured by grades, attendance and behavior, Frazier explained.
“Students who attend our centers will increase their math and reading grades by at least one or two grades,” she said.
The organization also has many other programs and partnerships.
Project Graduation pays high school students with an A or B in math and English a tutoring allowance. Students also receive a laptop computer and financial credit to use in college.
A Make It Happen grant from the Danville Regional Foundation provided a part-time STEM coordinator and funded eight aeroponic gardens at the tutoring sites. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The 1 Dream One Team is also a partnership between the tutoring program and My Brother’s Keeper (3 E-Boyz), a foundation run by Trey, Terrell and Tremaine Edmunds, sons of Ferrell and Felicia Edmunds and NFL players.
The tutoring organization also offers scholarships to students during the summer for programs at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, Danville Parks and Recreation, 4-H camps and sports camps. There are also summer programs at tutoring sites focused on reading and STEM.
Elzey is a freelance writer for Register & Bee. She can be contacted at [email protected]