More Arizona parents turn to private tutoring following pandemic struggles

Posted at 4:00 AM, Feb 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-16 08:55:25-05

PHOENIX — Because some students struggled to keep up with online learning, more parents are now turning to private tutors to help their kids catch up.

Natanya Washburn says all four of her children are still feeling the impact of online learning that began in March 2020, especially her daughter, who is in high school and has special needs.

"In order to make up for the content she's missed and the support she's missed from her teachers, we've had to turn to individual tutoring in order to get her up to speed in the content areas she was struggling in the most," Washburn said.

Elizabeth Rowley tutors Washburn's daughter and others like her at the Art of Learning in Phoenix.

She says in the past few months, she's had over a handful of students visit for some one-on-one learning after falling behind in class, something she believes is pandemic related.

"There's so much lost in the virtual learning, unfortunately," Rowley said.

Online tutoring platforms like Varsity Tutors report a huge increase in the number of customers in the Phoenix area, stating STEM tutors are up 62% compared to last year.

Rowley says it's the in-person interaction her students benefit from the most.

"It's a comfortable environment here," she said. "We pride ourselves on teaching the whole child."

For Washburn, she says her daughter also struggled socially when returning in person, something she says school leaders equate to spending less time together.

"There were some bullying issues going on at the school," she said. "Kids just are not getting the maturity that they typically would have if they had been attending school in person all of this time."

She says her daughter now does online learning with in-person tutoring and has this message for other parents out there who believe their child needs some extra help:

"Don't be afraid to ask schools to fulfill whatever it is that your needs are."

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona has a list of about 20 different organizations offering tutoring for either free or at a reduced rate.