At GCPL, we try to provide you with free access to as many resources as possible; the library is a champion of all pastimes, hobbies, and endeavors you wish to take on! We strive to have all the things you want and need, and that didn’t stop when the pandemic began in 2020, it only made us more determined to provide help where you need it – like expanding a program that prioritizes our students in Greene County and their academic success. According to the Ohio Department of Education, remote learning had a significant impact on third grade proficiency in fall of 2020, falling as low as 12 percentage points in fully remote schools compared to falling 8 points for the schools with hybrid schedules.
When it became clear there were students in our community struggling academically and needed the face-to-face academic help, Elizabeth Cusack, Deputy Director of the Greene County Public Library, implemented Level Up after school homework help at all 7 community libraries.
I had the chance to speak with Elizabeth about Level Up, and why it’s such an important program at our community libraries.
I know Level Up was inspired by a similar program done in Fairborn. What about the Fairborn tutoring program made you think it could be something GCPL could do on a system-wide level?
When I applied for the ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) grant, federal funds meant to assist libraries and their communities as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, I reached out to each of our community libraries and asked what needs they see in their community. There was a common theme of an increase in kids struggling with schoolwork. So, I thought about the successful tutoring program already happening at the Fairborn Community Library through a generous donation – a program that’s been going on for nearly a decade and is very successful in their community – and proposed that we use the grant money to implement one-on-one, in-person academic tutoring at a system-wide level. Once we were awarded the grant, it was so exciting to green light the Level Up program, as it had been in the works for months. It’s great to see so much student success happening in the library!
How do you find tutors and what do you look for when bringing a tutor on for Level Up?
Our tutors are mostly retired teachers, current teachers, and Cedarville University education students. All our Level Up tutors are enthusiastic and happy to help students any way possible. When they were onboarded, we told them that since these are walk-in appointments, they needed to be able to quickly assess needs and adapt to each student. They could see a kindergarten student needing help with reading then a high school student with a geometry assignment back-to-back. The tutors are able to use resources we have for parents and educators, such as Scholastic Teachables, to identify learning activities and worksheets based on a student's specific need. Our tutors are seeing students from all grades, academic levels, and walks of life.
Will Level Up be returning for the 2022-2023 school year?
So, this year, we’ve had 129 tutoring sessions with 449 attendees and 25 students have completed 10 sessions or more. Due to the current success of Level Up, GCPL is happy to say that we’re already making plans to continue the program for the entire 22-23 school year. We know for sure that Level Up homework help is happening Fall of 2022!
It’s no secret COVID has been hard on all of us, but we’re not letting that get us down and neither should you. Your kids are our kids, and GCPL will try our hardest to make sure your students have what they need to succeed.
Throughout our conversation, Elizabeth explained that Level Up is meant to level the playing field when it comes to academic success. Traditional tutoring services can be costly, so the library is here to fill the gap and provide accessible, free tutoring for all students in Greene County.
We also discussed how tutoring can sometimes have a negative connotation, but students at all academic levels may need a little extra help occasionally, and that’s okay! The library is a safe place for all students, and Elizabeth encourages them to utilize this library resource whether they need help with a homework assignment, an essay, or need helpful study tips for an upcoming chapter test.
When it comes to academic success, your library is here to help you LEVEL UP! Find tutoring times at your community library at https://greenelibrary.info/levelup/.