Traverse City Tutoring Services Move Online During COVID-19
With school back in session, after school activities like tutoring look a little different this year.
SOS Learning Lab in Traverse City helps students with tutoring basics, organizational skills, and assists students enrolled in Diploma and Careers Institute alternative online school.
“We just had to make a quick shift to virtual,” said SOS Learning Lab owner Debbie Caperton. “We had to shut down our in-person support.”
Caperton said the online school support was mostly virtual anyway, but it was the in-person tutoring that made a drastic change.
“The tutoring was a huge shift,” Capterton said. “This was their place, this was a safe zone that kids would come to. We had to figure out how to create a safe zone in a virtual format in the midst of the pandemic.”
“In education, you have to be flexible with whatever’s happening,” Caperton said. “It doesn’t matter what format we used we wanted to make it easier for what the families may already be using or we’re going to help them set up.”
Caperton and her colleagues found that students really took to the virtual tutoring sessions.
“Some of our students that we started virtual tutoring with that we had never done that before, we discovered it worked really, really well,” Caperton said. “It was a better way to tutor some of our kids, so that was a big surprise in all this.”
One of those students is Karin Killian’s fourth grade daughter, Millie.
“It’s like being in the same room,” Killian said. “She just sits down and connects and [Debbie] really is able to bring out the child instead of just the task. It’s a personal relationship even though it’s still virtual.”
It’s the personal relationships Caperton wants to continue despite the ongoing challenges.
“It’s such a philosophy here that relationship we build with the students to make them feel safe,” Caperton said. “Many of our kids are struggling learners and so they’re on edge already, so that relationship part is huge with what we do here.”