WASHINGTON — Education is an important topic for parents right now, specifically in regards to distance learning plans. With many school districts across the DMV announcing virtual learning programs to start the 2020-2021 school year, our Q and A team looked into this question: what services are available so that my kid doesn’t fall behind during distance learning?
#TheQandA spoke to two tutoring services in D.C. that said there has been a significant increase in demand for their tutoring services. They said more parents are looking to tutoring services in order to make sure their kids don’t fall behind academically. They’ve even come up with new and unique programming to accommodate the increased demand.
"Before COVID, it was 'my child is struggling in school' or 'my child is bored and really needs that enrichment,'" Kathy McIntosh, president of Capital Learners, said. "Now, I think everyone is panicked that their child is going to fall behind."
Capital Learners is a private, individualized tutoring service for elementary, middle, and high school students in the D.C. metro area. McIntosh said parents are reaching out to her for small group tutoring services, where groups of four to six students meet with a teacher once or twice a week for 60-90 minutes. McIntosh said families can select from a variety of classes “a la carte” that they’ll implement into their program based on the interests of the students.
"Working with a student one on one, we're really able to tap on their interests," she said. "So when we're working with a kindergarten student, let's say they love trucks and transportation -- we'll create lessons...where we can pull material that really attracts the student to the lesson. We'll pick books that have to do with transportation."
While they do offer some free classes, Capital Learners, is mainly a paid program. But for some families, there just isn’t room in the budget for supplemental learning.
So, are there free tutoring services for kids in D.C.? The answer is yes.
"Completely free for the students, all you have to do is be a D.C. resident [and] you have to be at least six months behind in reading or math," Brandelyn Anderson, Executive Director of For Love of Children, said.
For Love of Children (FLOC) is a D.C.-based nonprofit that serves over 600 students.
"We provide tutoring and reading and math for first to 12th-grade students," Anderson said. "We also provide college access and support for middle school and high school students, as well as support for our students who are currently in college through scholarships and workshops and support."
Anderson said FLOC’s tutoring program is one on one. Every student who signs up for their free program receives a tutor for the entire semester or the entire school year.
The coronavirus pandemic challenged them to provide all of their services virtually, but Anderson said that has been a great opportunity to expand their offerings and help more students.
"What has been amazing about being able to go virtual is that suddenly we can have tutors from all over the country," Anderson said. "We can offer tutoring during the afternoon, which we've never been able to do before because all of our tutors were working adults and so they would come after work from 6 to 8 p.m."
In addition to traditional academic support, FLOC also provides cooking, yoga and STEM projects.