University of Alabama students partner with schools for tutoring during COVID-19

University of Alabama students partner with schools for tutoring during COVID-19
Screenshots of tutorial videos uploaded to YouTube include UA students Wamia Samad, left, Sam Kline, top right, and Preston McGee, bottom right. (University of Alabama)

University of Alabama students will provide free online tutoring and academic engagement sessions for the rest of the school year in a partnership with Birmingham City Schools and the Tuscaloosa County School System.

“We believe that we have a way to help alleviate some of the stress and burden on both public school teachers and administrators and parents of the children,” said Lisa McKinney, director of the Culverhouse LIFT Program who leads the tutoring effort at UA. “We believe UA students are perfectly positioned and prepared to help with this initiative.”

For Birmingham, UA students, along with a representative from the school system, will conduct videoconferencing or telephone conversations. In Tuscaloosa, UA students created a series of video tutorials on YouTube designed for students at Holt Elementary.

The LIFT Program provides tutoring through student volunteers to schools in the region, and more than 200 students are assisting in transitioning to remote tutoring now that UA and schools have closed campuses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, McKinney said.

For Birmingham, the initiative is called “The Virtual Tide: Birmingham City Schools-University of Alabama Online Tutoring Program.” It will partner UA students, educators and parents, as well as primary and secondary students.

UA students will conduct 30 Zoom videoconferencing and telephone calls each week for five weeks. Each call will be focused on a specific grade level and subject, such as third-grade reading or seventh-grade math. UA students will pair with a representative from Birmingham City Schools, including teachers, to present an hour of fun conversation, learning and activities that tie into the learning packets students received. Parents are encouraged to join.

For Holt Elementary, where many UA tutors have worked through the LIFT Program, about 50 YouTube tutorials are planned, with many uploaded to the site. To view the videos, visit the YouTube channel established at

For more information about how to join Birmingham tutoring sessions through Zoom conferences or phone calls, please contact McKinney at [email protected] or text or call 205-535-0907.

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