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United Way QC launches programs to combat gaps in remote learning

The two programs aim to grow reading skills and after school tutoring
Published: Nov. 13, 2020 at 6:50 PM CST
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BETTENDORF, Iowa (KWQC) - Read to Lead and Tutor Connection are two of the newest programs United Way of the Quad Cities has launched to help area students bridge the gaps left by remote learning.

United Way of the Quad Cities CEO and President Rene Gellerman said these two come at a crucial time.

“What we uncovered was that more than 50% of our families in the Quad Cities are really being challenged by remote learning and working from home," she said.

The Read to Lead program pairs adult volunteers with students for one-on-one reading time in a virtual library once a week for 30 minutes. The program is also seen as a crucial step to keep kids from dropping out of school.

“That third grade reading proficiency is a lever and a prediction on our future workforce and we’re very concerned,” Gellerman said.

According to the United Way, 73% of white third graders are reading at a proficient level, meanwhile Hispanic third graders are at a 57% proficiency rate, and black third graders are at a 43% rate.

Gellerman says these issues show the need for change.

“There’s a lot of contributing factors to that, but it’s not an overnight solution," she said. "This is one of the examples of systemic barriers and opportunity gaps that are built into our systems.”

The second program, which has yet to launch, is Tutor Connection. Tutor Connection is a network that allows families and after school tutors to connect with one another and find the right fit.

Both programs look for the same kind of person.

“We’re looking for someone that has patience, that is willing to engage and develop a relationship," Gellerman said.

She also believes the QCA is ready to step up and help with the need, the read to lead program has already filled out all available spots, with more to come at the start of the next school semester.

“Always a need for volunteers and the greatest asset of the Quad Cities is the people and when people in this region know that there’s a need," Gellerman said. "They step up and fill it.”

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