Vosburgh said another key part of K-12 Connect's mission is to work
closely with tutors to develop their skills and their commitment to
the educational system. For instance, each tutor is assigned a coach
who is a certified or retired educator who meets with them weekly,
observes sessions and provides other support and feedback.
"We’re really looking to grow and strengthen these potential
educators for the future – but also education advocates,"
Lauren Gutierrez, who is studying communication sciences and
disorders at Grand Valley, started as a volunteer with the tutoring
program and then was hired in 2021.
She said working with students on their reading skills is gratifying
while also providing valuable training for her career aspirations as a
“I love watching the students grow so much and being someone they can
rely on,” Gutierrez said, adding “Students behind in reading are
similar to students who are behind in their speech of language. This
has been a really great introduction into what the one-on-one sessions
might look like as a speech therapist.”
Ryan Durkee, who is majoring in group social studies with secondary
education, is working with students in a range of age groups on
intensive math and targeted reading as well as in a program that
provides homework help and mentoring.
Durkee said the mentoring with high school students ranges from
discussions and support for future aspirations to helping establish
organizational skills such as keeping a calendar and taking notes.
While the tutoring experience is key for Durkee’s career aspirations,
he also believes anyone can benefit from the communication skills
learned while tutoring, such as how to explain a difficult concept.
Durkee also said it is fulfilling to watch the children grow in
confidence and in their understanding of the material.
“For the first few weeks, they’re so down on themselves, but through
coaching and the growth mindset that we give the kids, they are able
to see they can do it. That is the most rewarding part for me,” Durkee said.