Black Bear Tutors
MISSION: Black Bear Tutors engages UMaine students in the community by serving as math and literacy tutors for local K-12 students. Tutors build structured and trusting relationships by offering encouragement and academic assistance. UMaine students help young people develop confidence in their academic ability while strengthening their dedication to the community and enhancing their college experience.
VISION: University of Maine students have increased civic commitment and local youth have increased commitment to school and seek post-secondary education and training.
University of Maine students work with K-12 students for 2-10 hours a week on a variety of academic subjects. Tutors do not need to be Education Majors. They can be from any program on campus. Tutors have the option to work 1-on-1 with a youth, assist in a homework help room in an after school program, or work as a teacher’s aide during the school day. This year we are offering both virtual and in-person opportunities to better work around the schedules of our tutors and students!
Through the America Reads, America Counts program, UMaine students who qualify for Federal Work-Study can be paid to tutor! However, anyone can volunteer!
Contact Bella Levine (207.581.3331) for more information.
What is America Reads – America Counts?
In America, 60% or more of fourth and eighth grade public school students are reading or doing math below grade level.
In Maine, 68% of fourth graders read below grade level and 55% perform math below grade level.
Also in Maine, 61% of eighth graders read below grade level and 61% perform below grade level in math.
In 2011, the United States was ranked globally 32nd in Math Proficiency and 16th in Reading.
In 1997, President Clinton issued the America Reads Challenge, an initiative that sought to have all children reading well by the third grade. Building on the success of the America Reads Challenge, America Counts was initiated in July 1999 as an effort to improve student achievement in mathematics and assist students in mastering challenging mathematics, including the foundations of algebra and geometry, by the end of the 9th grade. Nationwide, there are approximately 1,200 colleges and universities participating in America Reads and 300 colleges and universities participating in America Counts.
How do I become a Black Bear Tutor?
- Fill out the Black Bear Tutor Application
- “Zoom in” or meet for an Interview
- Complete the screening process
- Get fingerprinted
- Attend training/orientation
If you have Work-Study . . .
- You will be need to complete a few more forms for Payroll.
- We will plan your scheduled hours based on the amount of your award.
- You will have to enter your hours each week into the on-line payroll system (we will train you on this).
- Student employees are paid every other week via direct deposit.
Work-Study is not a requirement to be a Black Bear Tutor!!
Tutor Screening Process
Prior to acceptance in the program, UMaine students complete a screening process which meets the requirements of the local schools and our community partners.
The process includes:
- Personal interview
- Sex offender registry check
- Reference check
- Department of Education (DOE) Fingerprinting and Background Check*
The Office of Community Standards, Rights and Responsibilities (UMaine student conduct) reviews tutor names on an annual basis.
Each tutor completes annual orientation and training, including program and site rules, tutor responsibilities, and site orientation. Each tutor is provided with a handbook at their initial training, and the Youth Outreach Coordinator and Tutor Coordinator are available to assist as needs arise.
Professional development training focusing on 40 Development Assets, SPARKS, and College Positive Volunteerism is also done annually.
*DOE fingerprinting and background checks are valid for five years and must be completed a second time for any tutor staying with the program for more than 5 years. Fees for fingerprinting are paid for by the Bodwell Center. If you have already completed the fingerprinting process, you can provide a copy of your DOE approval. .