Tutor ND: Education with Care

Author: Claire Early


Students at Notre Dame may attend a university ranked 20th among national universities by U.S. News, but 42% of students in surrounding South Bend Community School Corporation schools didn’t receive a passing grade on the 2023 Indiana State Reading Assessment, according to the Indiana Department of Education. TutorND is here to connect local South Bend students to the educational resources they need to succeed.

According to Dr. Nicole McNeil, the director of Notre Dame’s Cognition, Learning and Development (CLAD) lab, TutorND is “a broad initiative of people who are at Notre Dame and in the South Bend community at large who all care a lot about children’s learning.” Through the learning design teams that tutors participate in, they “gain access to the information that will help them be the best tutors they can be.” TutorND serves three purposes: first, to expand local children’s access to evidence-based learning programs in math and reading; second, to provide university students interested in education with practical tutoring experience; and third, to be a model of the research-practice partnership for cognitive science and development.

In September, AmeriCorps gave TutorND a $640,000 grant which they are using to expand their options for tutors. One tutoring option TutorND offers is the full support program, where local students are tutored for at least half an hour three days a week and have access to a learning design coach. Now, through the AmeriCorps grant, TutorND has been allowed to create what they call the “on-demand” support option. This option allows more casual tutors to sign up, meet with a coach and access tutoring resources. Through this new on-demand option, interested tutors will be connected to coaches who understand the “science of learning,” and students in the South Bend area will have more opportunities to connect to evidence-based literacy and math programs.