In an initiative with the Embassy of Jamaica in Washington DC, Community Scholar Inc — a US-based non-profit organisation — is hiring Jamaican teachers to tutor students in the United States online.
“The focus of the organisation is an effort to increase the test scores of students in the United States of America. We believe that building a community around each student will promote a culture of learning which in turn creates a sustainable environment where students can grow academically. Our target group are second through eighth grade with maths and English being our primary topics,” said Robert St Cyr, executive director of Community Scholar Inc.
“We will add additional subjects, including geography, science, history, music in the new school year ,to provide a more rounded experience for students,” he continued.
St Cyr said “the effort was created to address the achievement gap between black and white students that persists within the United States”.
He added: “We chose these grade levels because divergence of academic proficiency begins primarily in elementary schools and widens in subsequent grades. In addition, a mix of volunteers and paid staff are used to tutor individual students and small groups.”
He said students are grouped with other students with similar levels of proficiency as determined by teachers in their respective schools. “We also provide a separate assessment, especially as we group students who attend different schools,” he said.
“Recruiting teachers from Jamaica is a strategy designed to help communities both in Jamaica and the United States,” St Cyr stated.
It is against this background that the Washington-based organisation sought the assistance of Jamaica’s ambassador to the United States Audrey Marks in securing suitable Jamaican teachers for the programme.