Lowcountry Headlines

Lowcountry Headlines


$1.5 million partnership brings free 24-hour tutoring to SC students

Back view of teacher talking with children in a video conference. Teacher and students using laptop for online learning in video call. A group of schoolchildren studying from home.

Photo: Getty Images

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - For K-12 families across the state, 1.5 million dollar is being spent on 24-hour online tutoring. Students, teachers and caregivers won’t have to pay a thing for it. These services are completely free.

For years, the South Carolina State Library has been offering K-12 online tutoring for families in the Palmetto state, but during the pandemic, they kicked it up a notch.

“We knew that children were being sent home without a ton of planning in most districts, and we knew that teachers were going to be stretched in trying to figure out how to teach virtually,” said South Carolina State Library’s agency director Lessa Aiken.

In November, the state’s Department of Education and the State Library received $1.5 million from the American Rescue Plan.

That money is being split over a 3-year span and gives students 24-7 access to free online tutoring through the website tutor.com

“We know that kids are still doing their work and cramming after midnight. It’s happening, especially for kids who are active doing sports, band or something of the sort,” Aiken said.

The library said to make sure kids are having safe interactions online, tutors go through an extensive background check, and they must meet strict requirements regarding teaching credentials.

“I’m a mom, so that part was very important to me. It’s impressive: the process that you have to go through to become vetted to become a tutor,” Aiken said.

Tutoring sessions for more than 200 subjects in English and Spanish are offered, but the one the library says kids request help in the most is math.

One 10th grader using the online tutoring said, “I’ve gotten a better hold on new topics, and even though I’m better at math on my own, connecting on here helps push me into the right direction if I’m unsure on how to progress with a problem.”

It’s not only students and teachers that can benefit, the library said guardians can receive help too.

“We’ve gotten inquiries from parents who’ve said, ‘Help, I do not remember how to do those things. I’m trying desperately to assist my child, and I don’t know where to begin,’” said Ellen Dunn, communications director for the South Carolina State Library.

In December 2021, more than 1,800 tutoring sessions took place through this program. To sign yourself or your student up click here.

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