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Ayudantes Escolares Online

Supporting Children During the Pandemic

In May 2020, the UNC-Chapel Hill Institute for the Study of the Americas, ISA, launched an educational pilot program to support online learning for K-5 students in North Carolina during the COVID-19 pandemic. The “Ayudantes Escolares Online” program connects tutors with elementary school students who are learning English and need additional support with online schooling.

A total of 36 children participated in the pilot program from May until September. Children attend 11 elementary schools in four different school districts, including Durham Public Schools, Orange County Schools, Chatham County Schools, and Chapel-Hill Carrboro City Schools. Children receive tutoring in reading comprehension, writing, math, science, and English. Each child has an individualized tutoring plan developed in consultation with parents, the child’s teachers, and ESL specialists. The program benefitted from strong collaboration with staff and teachers at participating school districts, who connected parents to volunteers, set up appropriate tutoring plans, and addressed internet connectivity problems.

The 27 tutors volunteered more than 500 hours working with children over the summer. Tutors are undergraduate and graduate students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University. Tutors’ majors and specializations include Comparative Literature, Computer Science, Global Health, Economics, Hispanic Literature, Political Science, Spanish, Biology, and Urban and Regional Planning. All tutors speak Spanish and English.

More Information and Resources

Visit this link to access bilingual educational games, class plans, PowerPoint slides, and YouTube videos about math, Reading, and English language learning. Visit this link to access bilingual information about COVID-19 in North Carolina. Visit this link to learn more about the Institute for the Study of the Americas.


UNC student Kierra Hyman tutored two students in kindergarten and fourth grade. They discovered a common interest in arts and crafts, which Kierra used to design engaging online sessions that strengthened their English language skills.


UNC student Sophie Therber is majoring in Global Studies and Human Development and Family Studies. “I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to volunteer as a tutor.”

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