Indiana News

Free IU tutoring service to expand as more students at home seek help

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A free tutoring service offered by Indiana University is growing to fit the growing need from students forced to learn from home.

For parents or grandparents who might be struggling knowing how to help their middle school or high school student succeed in science or math or another subject, it’s one of several places to turn.

Kristina Gill has been a tutor with the program for almost three years. She had her work cut out for her Tuesday night. A senior at an Indianapolis charter school needed help in his physics and math classes.

“It’s very rewarding. Sometimes it’s challenging,” Gill said.

The program is now called the IU Student Success Corps, formerly the IU Indiana Kids Program. IUPUI is the virtual hub for the entire state.

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It’s completely virtual for now. With more Hoosier kids learning from home not the classroom, it’s a number that continues to grow.

“We’re getting calls every single day from families who are like, ‘Hey, I really need some support,” said program manager Kayla Nunnally. “I think there is a bigger need because of the technology.”

The hourlong sessions are done on Zoom, which means computer screens can be shared to make it a little easier. Tutors like Gill even have digitizers, basically writing pads so students at home can see the virtual chalkboard if needed.

Sessions usually book out a week or two in advance. But this fall, the whole of September booked out at the beginning of the month.

The program is working to add more tutors around the state to help.

Funding comes from a Serve Indiana grant.

“We feel the difference this time around and the need has grown tremendously,” Nunnally said.

Gill has been a tutor almost 3 years. She may get paid, but said it doesn’t feel like a job.

“Many students are very grateful, they’re very appreciative. I have a lot of students tell me they liked seeing it in a different perspective,” said Gill.

For parents who are struggling, Gill said there are lots of online resources to help including Youtube videos and the Khan Academy. But her advice, “my top tip would be to sign up for this program because it’s free.”

You don’t have to have internet access either. You can also do an appointment by phone.

It’s open to every student in Indiana from grades 6-12. In January, the program will extend to serve students in kindergarten through Grade 5. Students can sign up online.