« Back to Education

Science, Math, and Reading Tutoring (S.M.A.R.T.) Program

Miami-Dade Public Library System

Innovation Leader: Camille Grace, S.M.A.R.T. Program Coordinator, gracec@mdpls.org

Problem Statement

Expanding class sizes and budget cuts to public education have made it difficult for K-12 students to receive the individual attention they may need. Science, math and reading have been identified as academic areas in which many students need special reinforcement. Reading skills in particular are essential to mastery of nearly all subjects. Children and teens face the additional hurdles of getting behind in class, feeling shy about bringing attention to themselves in the classroom by asking for additional help. Many simply want to advance in different areas.

Innovation

The Miami-Dade Public Library System offers tutoring nearly every Saturday of the school year at 46 branches all over Miami-Dade County. Each branch has at least two tutors: one for elementary students and the other for middle or high school students in mathematics and science. Larger branches may accommodate up to 10 tutors depending on the size of the library and the enrollment. Each tutor works with a maximum of 15 students (5 per hour) each Saturday. Students bring individual work in subjects for which they need reinforcement. The program allows them to advance at their own pace. All tutors are contracted and paid by the library system, and nearly all are current Miami-Dade or Broward County teachers certified by the State of Florida. To accommodate students seeking assistance with higher-level math and sciences, MDPLS also contracts scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and other professionals with tutoring experience. Registration in the program is free and open to all students who are able to work independently with a tutor.

Progress

The program has flourished for ten years. It is one of the most requested and demanded services offered by the Library; there is sometimes a waiting list. Since 2007, S.M.A.R.T. has supported the learning of students in Miami-Dade County through 85,941 hours of professional tutoring. The program has a 95% satisfaction rating from parents and caregivers.