supporting Cambridge public school students

Sixty Tutors, Sixty Students

Cambridge School Volunteers tutoring over Google Meet continued to positively impact student achievement during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cambridge School Volunteers’ Upper School Team has successfully mobilized 60 one-to-one tutors to support students across the district at all five upper schools (Amigos School/Escuela Amigos included). These supportive tutoring relationships integrate mentoring and encouragement with academic content tutoring. The tutor-student pairs are the heart of CSV’s Remote Learning Centers. 

The CSV staff’s  direct work with CPS upper school staff has been key to planning and implementing a successful remote program. This year, teachers have referred more students in Grades 6–8 for CSV tutors than ever. CSV staff regularly consult with CPS team leaders, individual teachers, and guidance counselors regarding individual student needs and ongoing resources for tutors. 

The CSV Upper School Team is currently vetting and preparing an additional cohort of volunteers for this work.

Making a  Remote  Learning Center “Tick”

Making Remote Learning Centers work for CPS students requires much more than pressing a button to connect two people in a videoconference. 

CSV Program Coordinators Megan Andres, Analía Ivanier, and Lovleen Judson, and Director of PreK–8 Programs Kasey Appleman work thoughtfully behind the scenes to match each adolescent with the one tutor that the student will keep for the remainder of the year—and provide ongoing coaching and support to make the connections flourish. 

As a Remote Learning Center is about to “go live,” CSV staff are busy reminding students—and caregivers—of the upcoming session, checking in with teachers or special educators, and welcoming students and tutors into the main room.

This brief initial transition period buzzes with informal greetings and conversation. It is key to building a sense of community and shared purpose. In the world of school during a pandemic, where “cameras on” may not be the norm, moments of human connection are a high-stakes resource. Following the full group assembly, the CSV program coordinator transfers each student-tutor pair into a breakout room where they check in more personally, review how the week is going, and tackle schoolwork together, or first build rapport and trust by playing a game.

In between Remote Learning Center sessions, CSV Upper School Team members are fielding new student referrals from educators, calling or texting caregivers, and identifying the best matches from within CSV’s pool of trained and vetted adult volunteers. They also convene sessions for tutors to confer with each other and with CSV staff regarding their students’ needs and best practices in tutoring.

Teams of CSV tutors are currently mobilized at all five upper schools. And some returning tutors are working with students they helped last year! The words of one student are more telling than any five-star review. “Am I late?” he asked, as he signed into a recent Remote Learning Center. “I don’t want to be late for tutoring!”