Riverside Educational Center looking to hire tutorsAug 23, 2021 02:45PM ● By Jan Weeks
Connie Monroe tutors Ruben Gonzales at Dos Rios Elementary.
We love to see children succeed in school. However, due to many circumstances, not all do. Some have parents holding down multiple jobs, some parents speak Spanish as their primary language, and some kids come from single-parent homes. That’s why Riverside Educational Center, a nonprofit that hosts after-school programs, facilitates a space where elementary through high school students can receive help in all subjects. It even offers assistance in enrichment areas such as art, music and outdoor activities.
Riverside Educational Center (REC) started in 2006 with just 20 students. Now, the program serves over 900 students in School District 51 at nine locations. Because it takes a lot of tutors to take on that many students, the program is looking to hire as many as 60 tutors for the 2021 school year.
Many tutors are retired, some are former educators or have a wide knowledge base, but all desire to promote better learning. This could be your chance to help kids and earn cash while doing it!
According to REC Development Director Kristin Lummis, tutors commit to approximately 12-14 hours a week for the length of the school year. The after-school program’s curriculum is coordinated with District 51 to ensure consistency.
“Tutors are assigned to a specific school and training is provided,” said Lummis.
Tutoring hours range from 2:45-6:30 p.m. depending upon the grade level.
“Elementary school tutors help students with homework in all subjects and also assist with grade-specific skill building. Tutors are assigned to a group of students and work with them throughout the school year,” Lummis explained.
Middle and high school students also receive help with homework, but there are opportunities for subject-specific tutors with higher-level skills and knowledge for all subjects—for example, advanced math and science or writing.
Additionally, all after-school sites provide educational enrichment in areas such as the arts, music, outdoor education and more. Tutors can also participate in those fun activities.
REC tutors must have a strong desire to help kids learn and achieve. They also have to commit to showing up on time throughout the entire school year. Tutors become friends and mentors, so both empathy and dependability are important.
“We’ve found that retired people are often excellent tutors and the limited hours are a nice adjunct for many folks,” Lummis said.
Three years ago, Jack Curry began tutoring at Orchard Mesa Middle School. He’s now the senior program director and helps oversee all the REC programs.
“REC is an equalizer for students who are capable of succeeding in school but, due to risk factors like food insecurity, learning disabilities, or single-parent households, are falling behind,” Curry said.
Curry recognizes that each student has a different set of challenges, some requiring support that the REC tutoring program can’t provide. In spite of the difficulties, he loves building relationships with students and watching them flourish by developing skills that can lead to success in school.
Cheyanne Gentry has been tutoring high schoolers with REC for four years—which is fitting, because her day job is teaching Cultural, Linguistics, and Diversity at Grand Junction High School.
“I teach the students who are culturally and linguistically diverse. Currently, we have students from Burma, Ghana, Vietnam, Mexico, Central American countries, France, and Spain,” Gentry said.
Her pupils aren’t foreign exchange students. Their families work here, own businesses, attend college, purchase homes and pay taxes. While Gentry doesn’t speak any of those languages, she’s able to transfer her classroom skills to the REC program where many of the participants come from other cultures, and English may not be regularly spoken at home.
According to Gentry, earning students’ trust and respect is paramount.
“Many of our kids have challenging backgrounds which has led them to be innately distrustful of anyone in a position or authority,” she said.
For both tutors and classroom teachers, that balance of being in charge and yet not using an authoritarian approach can be a highwire act without a net.
Still, Gentry celebrates when the kids “get it,” whether it’s figuring out a complex math problem or realizing that they truly are brilliant. That takes encouragement and courage on the parts of teachers and students.
If you’re ready and able to commit to teaching for 12-14 hours a week (compensation is $15 per hour), you can find job requirements and application at www.rec4kids.com or call 462-2901.