RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — Several students at the South Dakota School of Mines are taking time out of their busy schedules to tutor kids in elementary and high school.
Debbie Rankin, a graduate student at SMT, came up with the idea after volunteering for a similar program in New York.
“So it became a huge project where we are just hoping to help students who need help in their education with free tutoring on Zoom,” Rankin said.
Rankin along with her peer, Kate Dickinson, tutor students K through 12. While the majority of the participants are from the Rapid City District, the women also tutor kids as far as Pierre.
The two tutor once a week for one hour, or longer.
“The tutors log on when they get a Zoom website from our student coordinator, which is Debbie, and she gives the same zoom link to also her students in which they are paired to so when they both log on at the same time there’s always an organizer there overseeing the group and dividing them out into breakout rooms so they can focus on what homework they have and have that individual time that they need,” Dickinson said.
The program officially started last week with about three students. Now, it’s grown to 18 students.
With more students entering the program each day, Rankin and Dickinson say they are looking for help.
“We’re reaching out more to alumni within the school but also we’re trying to move into expanding to including other community members like Black Hills State, since they have an education program over there so we are trying to start bridging a gap between colleges,” Dickinson said.
“So we are trying to equal the playing field by offering something to everyone that has internet access we can help them,” Rankin said.
The School of Mines tutors say they are open to including even more universities across the state to join in on the program to reach more students in need of tutoring.