Virtual Mentoring and Tutoring During COVID-19 at Mort Elementary
Kianna Pintado-Adames has participated in the Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships’ Community Engagement Associates Program (CEAP) since August 2018. Kianna’s community placement is at Mort Elementary Community Partnership School on 1806 E. Bearss Ave, west of the USF Tampa campus. Despite the current pandemic, the CBFWS program has continued to support community partners through students working remotely. Kianna is a shining example of what can be accomplished in this program under such difficult circumstances.
Kianna is a first-generation student majoring in Elementary Education with a desire to teach first grade students. During the Fall 2020 semester, she took great initiative and met the challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic to support Mort Elementary students. She has been central to the virtual tutoring efforts with Mort students. From establishing parent engagement to developing curricula for reading, math, and science tutoring sessions, Kianna has been instrumental in implementing a framework for virtual tutoring at Mort Elementary.
Kianna conducts virtual tutoring sessions with approximately nine to ten Mort students a week. These students range from second to fifth grade students. The majority of the students are also English second-language (ESL) learners. Kianna is bilingual in English and Spanish, and thus uniquely able to support these students. “I’m very happy that I know Spanish so that I can support the Mort students in their English-language learning,” she stated. She is also able to communicate with the parents of Mort students who may not be native English speakers.
The impact she is having on students at Mort has been tremendous. “They [Mort students] always seemed excited” to do the virtual tutoring sessions, Kianna said; however, it’s clear this is not only about academics. There are strong aspects of mentorship and social support happening with these students as Kianna declares: “The Mort students are getting someone to talk to; it’s not just academics, there are social skills that are being met. I honestly feel these students are my friends. In a short amount of time, to build these relationships with these students is awesome.”
While this experience has supported students at Mort Elementary during such challenging times, this has also been crucial for Kianna’s career goal of entering into elementary education. “I am definitely able to put into practice what I am learning in the [USF’s Elementary Education] program; that’s the biggest takeaway,” Kianna said. Kianna and the Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships are committed to supporting such efforts at Mort Elementary in 2021 and beyond.