TERRE HAUTE — School work is just one of the many daily tasks for Hoosier families that have become more of a challenge brought on by the pandemic.
AskRose, a free homework help hotline by the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, has been around since 1991. Now, they got a big grant to upgrade their services to help even more Indian students.
The "tutoring chats" have been in demand for the AskRose Homework Help service and the pandemic has kept the tutors on one end of the line very busy.
For two decades, AskRose has provided math and science homework help for students in grades six through 12. This service is free to Indiana students.
Bryan Passwater is a math teacher at Speedway High School. He wants students to utilize this free service.
"I would encourage a lot of my students to do it, mainly I thought, younger students like Algebra 1 and Geometry," Passwater said. "They can even help with even these advanced courses, it wasn't just so much a middle school, early high school type program."
At a time when students are getting less in-person facetime with their teachers, AskRose is meeting the needs of kids to get help where they are at, especially as teachers and students navigate this new way of education.
"There is more frustration, more confusion and having the resource there when they are doing it is going to take away, not all the issues, but it is going to provide a lot of support and bridge a lot of gaps I think," Passwater said.
In spring 2020, when students were sent home for e-Learning, AskRose saw more than a 60% increase in the need for their tutoring help.
"A lot of our strong students, average students and certainly at risk students who might struggle, it is going to keep them in the game where I think they could fall through the cracks otherwise," Passwater said.
AskRose received a $1.46 million Lilly Endowment Grant to expand their online technology.
Lindsay Hull is the associate director of operations and education for AskRose. She said this grant will allow them to add video chat to their services.
"If they are already in the chat or in a call, the tutor then can elevate it to a video session," Hull said. "So if you are in a call with somebody, you are helping them and you really want them to see the diagram you have drawn so that you can explain this chemical structure to them. Now with the video chat, you can take the call, transition it to a video chat and you will see the student, they can see you, they can see each other on what they are working on."
Whether it be through online chat, phone call, or coming in spring — video chat, these tutors are just a call away to help Hoosier students from falling behind.
"The tutors are college kids so they were just in high school, in middle school, a few years ago so and they have chosen to help people," Hull said. "So they are really nice, they want to help, they want to make a difference for the students, we are here for them, we are here to help."
Hull also encourages parents to call in too if they need help in order to aid with their child's schoolwork.
AskRose expanded their tutoring hours last fall with the need for homework help increasing due to the pandemic.
More information and to access a tutor: https://askrose.org/.