Wildcat Community Tutoring hosts soft opening, aims to expand nationwide

The Wildcat Community Tutoring and Educational Enrichment Initiative aims to help K-12 students with various subjects. The College of Education, College of Health and Human Sciences and the Staley School of Leadership Studies partnered for this initiative. (File Photo by Paige Eichkorn | Collegian Media Group)

In a collaborative effort to provide free online tutoring and activities for K-12 learners, a few Kansas State colleges joined together to form the Wildcat Community Tutoring and Educational Enrichment Initiative.

The College of Education, College of Health and Human Sciences and the Staley School of Leadership Studies teamed up to create this service, and Monday kick-started the program’s soft-opening.

Roger Schieferecke, assistant dean of the College of Education, took the lead on this initiative and said once the service is fully operational, it won’t be limited by region.

The soft-opening allowed for any kinks to be worked out before opening the services to the public. The service will soon expand nationwide.

“Our short-term goal is to have a really advanced program for the spring semester,” Schieferecke said. “If [COVID-19] relaxes and things get back to a little more normal, certainly it’d be really cool to have an in-person activity as well.”

With more than 30 volunteers prepared to tutor everything from kindergarten to calculus, more tutors are being added daily as the team continues accepting applications.

“Some of the tutors have been ready to roll for, like, weeks,” Schieferecke said. “What I’ve been impressed with is the students’ passion for just wanting to help.”

Hailey Casey, freshman in biology, will tutor high school Spanish and English, some middle school science and language courses and general K-3 subjects.

“I am excited for this opportunity in the way that I hope it will help me to become a good educator and resource and perhaps learn something that I did not know throughout the process,” Casey said in an email. “I think there should be more of an outreach to students who would potentially want to take part in this as a tutor. The more time slots we have filled, the more students we can help.”

Casey said the process for signing up was simple.

“[The application] asked us a few questions regarding our motives for tutoring, what our interests were and our schedule,” she said. “Once the application was accepted, we had to go through modules and tests over the modules to ensure that our interactions with the students and our methods of tutoring were satisfactory.”

Sofie Urquiza, sophomore in elementary education, went through the same application process and said she will use her past tutoring skills to help these next group of students.

“I used to be a tutor when I was a senior in high school, and I tutored just K-8 math,” Urquiza said. “I thought it was super rewarding when I saw my kids benefiting from the strategies I was giving them.”

Adelaide Klutse, graduate student in applied family science, learned about the tutoring initiative through the Oct. 5 edition of K-State Today.

Klutse is scheduled as a K-3 tutor and said she looks forward to supporting young children to work meaningfully towards their academic goals.

“For anyone who loves to teach and has a few hours available, sign up to serve as a tutor,” Klutse said. “This could just be your way of giving back to the community, especially if you are looking for safe ways to do so.”

Since the tutoring service is geared toward children, two tutors will sit in for each session.

“Due to our two-to-one tutor-to-student ratio, I can rely on my co-tutor to help in areas I may not be overly confident in,” Casey said.

Educational Enrichment Programs will be offered throughout the fall semester and cover a variety of activities from reading programs to STEM activities K-State students created and will lead.

Students participating in the enrichment activities need to complete the Consent, Waiver, Release and Assumption of Risk for Virtual/Remote Event for Children Participants form prior to the tutoring appointment.

My name is Sean Schaper, and I'm the news editor for the Collegian. I’m a junior in journalism with a secondary focus in film studies. I grew up right outside of Kansas City in Leawood, Kansas. As a first-generation K-Stater, I look forward to leaving behind accurate coverage for the current and future Wildcat community.