With the switch to digital learning for many students around the world as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers and families are having to adjust to a new form of instruction.
On Sept. 17, the Aggie Homework Helpline, or AHH, was created to help alleviate problems with the transition. This new organization aims to provide assistance to students in kindergarten through 12th grade who need help with their assignments. The helpline utilizes interns in Texas A&M’s College of Education & Human Development who need practicum hours, as well as undergraduate students in other majors to tutor a variety of subjects.
The program was created to help ease the workload on families, AHH Director Marcia Montigue, Ph.D., said.
“This project came online in response to the needs that families were experiencing because of COVID[-19],” Montigue said. “We were talking about needs that were arising due to COVID[-19] and how to support schools and our students and families at this time, and through those discussions it became clear that families were struggling to be able to do their own jobs and then assist their students at home who are trying to learn online.”
As the program is still in its infancy, AHH is currently only available for Texas students. However, it is heavily utilized by districts around the state, AHH Co-Director Monica Neshyba, Ph.D., said.
“We initially decided to limit it to Texas only because we wanted to make sure that everybody in Texas knows about it before we expand,” Neshyba said.
There is very heavy demand for the program among schools in Texas, and more tutors are needed than can be supplied by the AHH. Work-study eligible students looking to get involved can do so through the Reading Counts program which collaborates with AHH, said Stephanie Linder, the manager of the Reads and Counts tutors.
“We are definitely wanting to try and get as many tutors in place for next semester as possible to meet that demand,” Linder said.
While formed during COVID-19, the program’s success with the students tutored so far and for the tutors developing their teaching skills has merited it sticking around after COVID-19, Montigue said.
“We are looking to make this a sustainable program that lasts beyond COVID[-19],” Montigue said. “We have intentions to have this again in the spring, and then in the fall, and we’re looking to sources for support to keep us going for many more years to come.”