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Tutoring Behind the Walls

Tutoring is the most diverse volunteering opportunity Concord Prison Outreach (CPO) offers, and a priority for the Department of Corrections (DOC). Education has the highest correlating factors in preventing recidivism, and holds the potential for a profound effect on an individual’s future prospects and general well being. Certainly, the ultimate goal for all students enrolled in correctional education programming is to achieve their high school equivalency diploma, but the student population behind the walls is quite diverse. Not all students enroll with the same abilities or profiles, but almost all have a history of frustration in a school environment.

Depending on the specific tutoring opportunity, volunteers can work closely with DOC teachers or maintain a significant amount of autonomy. Tutors have the option of volunteering in any subject that includes literacy and English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), and tutoring is offered most days of the week. The DOC holds classes requiring tutors weekday mornings and afternoons, but CPO, also, is looking to create and fill evening tutoring in the near future for those desiring more independence with their teaching experience and the possibility of working with a small team of other tutors.

Some tutoring volunteers have a breadth of professional teaching experience, but many do not. Regardless of your background, we urge and welcome you to consider participating in this vital contribution in helping incarcerated individuals rebuild their lives in preparation to rejoin their communities.

Current volunteer opportunities at MCI-Concord

  • pre ASE/ASE: This is the GED/HiSET test prep class. It is a mix of levels in one class, and not everyone is close to taking the test. The DOC has asked for math/science people, with an emphasis on math. You do not have to have advanced abilities. Student skills have a wide range, so if you are interested in helping in math, go for it! The classes meet Mon-Fri. There are three sections, but often tutors will volunteer for morning and afternoons. The specific class times are as follows: 9-10.45, 1-2.15, 2.15-3.45. Please plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before the start of the class. The DOC is looking for two tutors for each class Mon-Wed, and one tutor for each class Thurs. and Fri.
  • ABE: This is their basic skills class. The class size is much smaller than pre ASE/ASE, but the students have more profound deficits, which makes for an interesting challenge. The DOC requested assigned tutors to be “utility” players, meaning individuals comfortable with any content area, and can be creative in their delivery. As a frame of reference, students likely read below a second grade level and/or struggle with basic math operations. The classes meet Mon-Fri. There are three sections, but often tutors will volunteer for morning and afternoons. The specific class times are as follows: 9-10.45, 1-2.15, 2.15-3.45. Please plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before the start of the class. The DOC is looking for two tutors for each class Mon-Fri.
  • ESL: This is a class for English language learners and a bit different than the other two courses we facilitat. It will likely shift to a more traditional structure, but for the time being it meets in the computer lab. Tutors do not formally teach students but rather provide support as they work individually on the computer. Those volunteering for this opportunity should be comfortable with very basic computer skills and answering student questions. The classes meet ONLY Tues and Thurs. There are three sections, but often tutors will volunteer for morning and afternoons. The specific class times are as follows: 9-10.45, 1-2.15, 2.15-3.45. Please plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before the start of the class. The DOC is looking for two tutors for each class Tues AND Thurs.