This fall, back-to-school season will bring a new opportunity for Johns Hopkins University undergrad and grad students to support the local community by serving as math tutors for students at the Henderson-Hopkins School in East Baltimore.
The initial 40 tutors who will be hired in time for fall are part of an ongoing effort by the university to help the Eager Park school meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, including learning loss issues brought on by temporary school closures, absenteeism, and increasing student stress—concerns facing schools across the country in the wake of COVID disruptions.
The new tutoring program will be one of many pandemic community supports offered by Henderson-Hopkins, a pre-K-8 contract school of Baltimore City Public Schools operated by Johns Hopkins and Morgan State universities.
The school never fully shut its doors during the pandemic, but instead adapted to become a food distribution site, vaccination clinic, and haven for students in need of supervision and meals. Principal Peter Kannam led the school through a pandemic shutdown and through its full reopening during this past school year. When he began looking for ways to meet his students' emerging academic needs, he proposed a math tutoring partnership with the Whiting School of Engineering's Center for Educational Outreach, which will oversee the program.
JHU President Ron Daniels says the high-impact program will both meet the needs of Henderson-Hopkins students and encourage Hopkins students to engage with the city around them.
"Supporting the students at Henderson-Hopkins is a great way for Hopkins students to get involved in Baltimore and to make a meaningful impact in the lives of young people," Daniels says. "Through this initiative, our students can help reduce the devastating academic impact of lost instructional time during COVID while also inspiring the next generation at Henderson-Hopkins to one day become Hopkins students themselves."
The Hopkins tutors will work for a few hours each week with small groups of up to four elementary and/or middle school students. Tutors will be paid $15 per hour, and transportation to and from the school via Lyft will be provided by the university.
Math tutors will commit to working with the school for at least one full semester and participate in pre-service training; they will be paid for their time tutoring and one hour of planning each week. An estimated 100 Henderson-Hopkins students will benefit this fall, and that number will grow to 200 students by the spring, when an additional 40 tutors will be hired.
"This is an incredible opportunity for Hopkins undergrad and graduate students to have a big impact," Kannam says. "The tutoring will support students' academic needs, and equally as important will be the relationships Hopkins students will build as role models."
The program's design is inspired by two long-running JHU student-to-student initiatives—the Tutorial Project, an after-school tutoring program on the Homewood campus for city elementary school students, and Charm City Science League, which provides STEM mentoring to Baltimore middle-schoolers—as well as a similar math tutorial program at UMBC.
In addition to the student tutors at Henderson-Hopkins, the university has hired a program manager to oversee operations and will employ an evaluator to help measure progress and success. The program also includes added bonuses to students on both sides of the math tutoring equation: To incentivize attendance and achievement, both tutors and tutees will be offered semester-long and yearlong awards, including celebrations, an awards ceremony, field trips, and prizes.
For more info and to apply to become a tutor, JHU students should log into the SMILE portal and search for job 12583. The deadline to apply is 11:59 p.m., on Thursday, Sept. 8.