A tutoring program at The Boys and Girls Club of Riverview has raised its grade to another level due to COVID-19.
The club is already preparing to launch its student tutoring program called Raise the Grade in preparation for the upcoming school year and virtual learning has become a big part of the program in light of the pandemic.
“This is really a new opportunity for us to continue connecting with kids on different levels,” said Jessica Fenner, BGC Riverview program director.
Much like many teachers in the province had to pivot to online instruction, the tutoring program, which was typically done in person, was forced to flip to online learning during the last school year said Fenner.
“We started running full-time virtual programming five days a week throughout several months,” said Fenner.
“We thought that there would be a really big challenge connecting with the kids and really the challenge was really on our end learning how to use all these tools,” she said.
She said once tutors mastered online learning tools such as Zoom and Facetime, online learning actually allowed them to support more students and draw in online resources that before the pandemic were out of reach in person.
“We had volunteers from Mount Allison University who actually tutored quite a large group of youth the entire year,” she said.
She said the online learning helped support a new group of youth and those who otherwise may have had limited supports in a home learning environment.
Eleven-year-old Carter Nicholson of Riverview said that he struggled at first with online learning when the pandemic closed schools in the spring of the 2019-2020 school year.
“You don’t have your teacher right there to show you what you are doing wrong and how to fix it,” Carter said.
The need for educators and students to become digitally savvy was highlighted by pandemic and virtual learning will now and forever be part of their Raise the Grade program, said Fenner.
Raise the Grade not only provides tutoring but also career planning and opportunities for students and to connect on a whole other level, she said.
“Because we have connected with so many of our kids in such a different way we don’t want to take that away.”
Given the recent rise in COVID-19 cases across the province, should schools be forced to shut down again this coming school year due to an outbreak Fenner said that online tutoring will continue.
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