Virtual program

CAVE Adopts Virtual Curriculum to Maintain Legacy Tutoring Services

Keith Crawford was faced with a thorny dilemma and a five-decade legacy was at stake.

As program director for Community Action Volunteers in Education (CAVE), Crawford helps oversee the organization’s in-person student tutoring program, its flagship and longest-running volunteer opportunity. So how would it continue to operate during the fall 2020 semester amid virtual learning forced by the COVID-19 pandemic?

CAVE’s face-to-face tutoring program, which has matched Chico State student tutors with K-12 students for more than 50 years, was abruptly moved online in March due to the global pandemic. After CAVE program coordinator Cathryn Carkhuff moved tutorial sessions to Zoom for the rest of the spring, in the summer she and Crawford were still unsure how effective this quick fix would be for dozens. volunteers and thousands of hours of virtual tutoring for the fall.

So when Crawford read an introductory email from a company called Tutorfly, he was intrigued.

“What we didn’t really have was the infrastructure to schedule and log in for tutoring,” Crawford said. “It seemed almost too good to be true.”

Tutorfly was originally founded as a tutoring marketplace in 2017 at the University of California, Los Angeles Anderson Accelerator Program and the Startup UCLA Accelerator Program, and found its footing as the COVID-19 pandemic tightened its grip. grip and began forcing schools into virtual delivery in March. Providing private tutoring platforms for nonprofits, teachers, schools, and school districts, the company sought to expand its services to colleges and universities and selected Chico State to test its product for free. beta.

Using Tutorfly, CAVE was able to provide a comprehensive fall tutoring roster: Thirty-six tutors, all student volunteers from Chico State, assisted 43 local school children, logging over 1,100 hours of work.

Social work major Daisy Cedillo, group leader for CAVE, said while the pivot to virtual tutoring was a big change, she also appreciated the small group of student volunteers and felt she was able to get to know her colleagues. tutors at a deeper level. .

“My leadership has increased more, virtually rather than in person, which is kind of weird to say,” she added. “My communication has also improved and I feel like overall it was a good experience.”

Cedillo plans to take the same position with CAVE — his fifth semester overall with the organization — in the spring, his final semester before graduating in May. She and her peers were able to overcome the initial challenges using a virtual platform, which should make the spring experience even better.

Keith Crawford, Program Director for CAVE, is grateful that the legacy of student volunteers teaching local school children continues with Tutorfly and the endorsement of University leadership.

“Sometimes parents didn’t know much about technology,” the fifth-year student said. “And at first it was a bit difficult trying to teach volunteers and tutees how the system works.”

As with any new technology or learning platform, adopting Tutorfly required a learning curve. But whether it’s solving various accessibility issues, communicating with families, or working with Chromebooks, “Tutorfly was able to overcome these challenges,” Carkhuff said.

Tutorfly co-founder and CEO Parsa Rezvani said CAVE’s well-established history of community tutoring aligns nicely with the Los Altos-based company’s mission to enable the student access.

“CAVE volunteers work one-on-one with students, not only as tutors, but also as mentors who lay the foundation for students to continue to grow throughout their schooling,” Rezvani said. “We love that the CAVE tutoring program has such a strong relationship with the Chico Unified School District and its K-12 community.”

CAVE’s rich history of tutoring children in Chico area schools dates back to 1966, when a pilot tutoring project was started, pairing 20 Chico State students with community children local. A collaboration with the university’s School of Education began soon after, linking CAVE – which has been part of the Student Associates since 1969 – and its work to the credentials part of one of the oldest programs leading to a Chico State Diploma.

When an email was sent to families of potential interns to set up fall tutoring, Carkhuff said each spot was filled in just three hours before applications closed — she used it as a valuable learning experience.

“We released the app without fully realizing how quickly the spaces would fill up,” Carkhuff said. “I should have prioritized our existing families,” adding that at the end of the fall 2020 semester, 22 families remained on the waitlist.

The learning was not limited to CAVE, as Tutorfly also gleaned knowledge from Chico State.

“Tutorfly also really learned through us, because we have this beautiful CAVE model where our students really run the show,” Carkhuff said. “That’s how they want it, and that’s how we want it.”

As virtual learning is expected to continue in the Spring 2021 semester, CAVE will also continue to use Tutorfly’s platform. Crawford is grateful that the University administration endorsed and supported the decision to try something new in the face of unprecedented challenges on campus and in the community.

“I think it’s a cool collaboration of technology, community, and disaster,” he said. “It’s one of those times when you look around and say, ‘It’s time for us to do something, that’s what CAVE is here for – so let’s do it.

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