St. Joseph County lawmakers: High schoolers can tutor younger students, earn credit

Posted by: Allison Vanatsky  | Tuesday, July 28, 2020

STATEHOUSE (July 28, 2020) – When students begin school in the coming weeks, a new opportunity to fulfill graduation requirements will be available to high school juniors and seniors to tutor younger students, according to State Reps. Dale DeVon (R-Granger) and Tim Wesco (R-Osceola).

DeVon said students can experience some form of learning loss over summer break, meaning they do not retain some of the lessons they learned the previous school year, but most are typically able to relearn these lessons quickly. However, because students participated in remote- or e-learning due to COVID-19, a recent NWEA report estimates some children could begin the 2020-2021 school year up to nearly a full grade level behind their peers in some subject areas. To help bridge this gap, DeVon said schools can implement the Indiana Department of Education's newly developed Indiana Tutoring Fellowship, which will fulfill the Service-Based Learning Experience under Graduation Pathway Requirement #2.

"Learning loss is nothing new, but it is especially a concern now after months of remote learning," said DeVon, member of the House Education Committee. "Students at all grade levels will likely need additional support to get caught up and not fall behind, and pairing with a tutor is an excellent way to help them get there."

To be eligible to participate in this program, Wesco said students must be a high school junior or senior, maintain at least a 3.0 GPA and be in good behavioral standing. The IDOE recommends tutoring sessions take place virtually, but if students are permitted to meet face-to-face, social distancing must be followed. Tutors will work with students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

"High school students have an opportunity to really make a positive impact on the lives of those in lower grade levels," Wesco said. "This is a great way for older students with an interest in becoming a teacher or working with children to gain experience and complete their graduation requirements."

DeVon and Wesco both supported the 2017 law creating Indiana's graduation pathways, which allows students to pursue opportunities that best meet their education and career goals. 

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State Rep. Dale DeVon (R-Granger) represents House District 5, which includes portions of St. Joseph County.

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State Rep. Tim Wesco (R-Osceola) represents House District 21, which includes portions of Elkhart and St. Joseph counties.

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