Local Kids Working to Close Covid-19 Education Gap
When Bishop’s High School Student Daxton Gutekunst, started his non-profit, “Kid by Kid” in 2018, he designed it as a Saturday face-to-face sit down with free tutoring and pizza; an opportunity for students to help other students who have fewer educational resources. In March, Covid-19 changed all that forcing the tutoring program into Distant Learning. That shift to an on-line platform shone an even brighter spotlight on the ‘Covid Education Gap’. As ‘Kid By Kid’ moved its one-on-one, free tutoring platform to an online community of at-risk students, demand increased and the program reached a milestone of 500 tutoring hours this summer.
‘KidByKid.org’ pairs local Middle and High School student volunteer tutors with Elementary and Middle School student learners from under-served communities (such as immigrant, refugee and English-as-a-Second Language families). Seeking to provide life-changing academic opportunity and support via tutoring and mentoring, ‘Kid By Kid’ reaches student learners in partnership with local school districts, NGO’s, and community-based organizations.
Gutekunst, a 10th Grader at The Bishop’s School and Founder of ‘Kid By Kid’, said he modified his existing in-person tutoring model with the development of an online solution so ‘Kid By Kid’ could continue supporting the education outcome of some of San Diego’s most vulnerable children. “These kids need support more than ever. Already well documented within under-served communities, the education gap has been magnified and made dramatically more apparent by the Pandemic and increasing social awareness of disparities and resource short-comings”, said Gutekunst.
Gutekunst says he has found San Diego’s Middle and High School students are keenly aware of many of the obstacles challenging their community. Combined with their desire to make a positive contribution to future outcomes within the world in which they live, these students represent a huge, untapped resource for change. It is this energy, motivation and level of optimism that power ‘Kid By Kid’.
The Kid By Kid Program works as follows:
- Parents of student learners fill out a detailed registration form, located on the ‘Kid By Kid’ website; this includes the child’s particulars, the subjects their child needs help with, their interests, and any special needs or circumstances.
- Middle and High School student tutors, mainly drawn from ‘Kid By Kid’ Service Clubs within individual schools, fill out a similar form.
- The Kid By Kid Team conducts a one-on-one pairing process to best match learner and tutor experience and mutual interests.
- Once pairings are determined, ‘KidByKid.org’ coordinates communication, online lessons and a tutor training program (via proprietary videos and open-source educational content).
- The student learner’s parent or guardian is present during the tutoring session to facilitate the lesson / appointment.
‘Kid By Kid’ includes an outreach team and social media arm, dedicated to spreading the project’s message and recruiting additional student volunteer tutors. “It isn’t until I felt like Covid-19 had taken a part of my education that I realized how important our mission to help close the education gap really was; it’s so meaningful to work to provide opportunities we’ve taken for granted to students without them.” Said Audrey An, Bishops ‘23, a student tutor and KBK Tutor Training Specialist. “I watched my student’s confidence with math problems grow every session we had together, and I realize how much of an impact we could have on these students’ academic lives.”
With the beginning of the school year fast-approaching, interest is rapidly growing. The past few weeks have been particularly busy with ‘Kid By Kid’ fielding new tutor interest, adding to its many volunteer Middle and High School student tutors from across the County. Meanwhile, twenty-five (25) local public Elementary and Middle Schools are already spreading the word to their student learners, according to Gutekunst.
‘Kid By Kid’ is preparing to help the predicted tsunami of impacted Elementary and Middle School students as much as possible and is now actively seeking student volunteers. In anticipation of an enormous need once the school year begins, ‘Kid By Kid’ has currently trained a team of tutors from The Bishop’s School, Francis Parker School, Pacific Ridge School, Academy of Our Lady of Peace, St. Vincent de Paul, School of the Madeleine, Point Loma High School and Coronado Middle School to help organize and scale its operational infrastructure. To join this effort or learn more, please go to the our website at KidByKid.org.