GVSU receives Skillman Foundation grant to launch tutor-training program to support Detroit K-12 students

The carillon on the Allendale campus and the library building are set against a blue sky with wispy clouds.
Image Credit: Kendra Stanley-Mills

Grand Valley has received funding from The Skillman Foundation to be used toward a new tutor-training program that will launch this fall to support K-12 students in the city of Detroit.

The Targeted Reading Internship Program (TRIP) is a first-of-its-kind initiative from GVSU's statewide K-12 Connect tutoring service, creating opportunities for college students to explore education professions while simultaneously improving literacy for Detroit students today.

This program partners with Detroit-area high schools to recruit first-generation, incoming GVSU students as Targeted Reading Tutors who will support Detroit K-12 students’ literacy skills with flexible, one-on-one virtual tutoring for reading development.

Terry Whitfield, program officer for The Skillman Foundation, said TRIP is valuable for the Detroit community.

"The pandemic disrupted every aspect of our lives but none greater than children and their education," Whitfield said. "Programs like TRIP are rebalancing what's been thrown off kilter. TRIP will help kids catch up to grade-level reading. It will encourage more college students to consider teaching as a career. And it's creating supportive one-to-one bonds between kids and young adults."

TRIP tutors will undergo the same intensive literacy training and receive the same ongoing coaching and support as tutors in the K-12 Connect program. This tutoring service, a project of the GV NextEd Co-Lab, connects GVSU students with K-12 students to provide academic support. The student tutors in TRIP will also benefit from focused events that build and strengthen their social and professional networks. The program is guided by research that demonstrates that college students who work and are a part of a greater community are more likely to stay in college and find success.

"The TRIP program is a great example of how the Co-Lab fulfills its dual mission of developing new paths to and through the University while also directly addressing systemic structural inequities," said Steven Hodas, executive director of the GV NextEd Co-Lab. "It starts with a capability we've created to benefit GVSU students and Michigan communities, and then develops and extends it for even greater impact."

TRIP was developed by the GV NextEd Co-Lab, in collaboration with the College of Education and Community Innovation, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and other units within the university.