For Low-Income Immigrant Students, A Virtual Education

The Midtown Utica Community Center (MUCC) online Tutoring Program will start again on February 2nd, 2021 to help refugee and immigrant children adapt to remote learning. In March 2020, local schools closed their doors and shifted to online-only classes due to the novel Coronavirus pandemic. The learning gap widened for many low-income, immigrant students who faced both language and digital barriers. Many families lacked computer and WiFi access while younger children struggled to access online platforms for the first time. Daileny Guerrero, a Utica native who is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Technology, Education, and Innovation at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, launched the online tutoring program in October 2020.

Over the summer, she coached parents and children one- on-one in digital literacy to ensure they could fully participate. “It is important for me to share what I have learned about technology and child education with the community that shaped my own trajectory,” says Guerrero who emigrated from the Dominican Republic when she was just 7 years old.

A virtual education program that began with just 13 students and 20 tutors from Oneida, Fulton, and Herkimer counties has since doubled in size. Students ranging from kindergarten to college have fun with interactive learning programs like Kahoot, a game-based learning platform, before they join breakout rooms with their individual tutors. Every other Monday, tutors learn teaching strategies from professional educators. Evan Robinson, a tutor from Hamilton College says, “my tutee is always fun to talk to and seems to genuinely enjoy working through her homework assignments, even on Saturday mornings.”

The free online tutoring program is open to new tutees and tutors. If you are interested in joining, you may contact Daileny Guerrero at daileny@midtownutica.org