Tutor Information and Resources
ARAC and COVID-19 Information: This summer the Field Placement & Licensure Office (FPLO) has been working closely with the University and school districts, along with monitoring state and federal guidelines regarding the COVID-19 situation. This matter is changing daily, often faster, and requires constant attention. We ask for your patience and consideration as we navigate the start of the school year, but especially as the fall semester progresses. We will keep you informed of any updates as thye occur and ask that you do the same with our office. It is imperative that you contact, and stay in contact, with your cooperating teachers and the FPLO. Things are likely to change at a very rapid pace as the fall semester progresses. We ask that all tutors adhere to safety protocols provided by the schools and MSU. Tutors will be responsible to provide their own personal protective equipment (PPE) in accordance with district/school guidelines. If tutors are unable to secure the proper PPE, they are to contact the FPLO to request assistance. If there are issues with non-compliance, the FPLO should be notified immediately.
Thank you for becoming a part of MSU America Reads America Counts program. We are so excited to have you on board as we begin another year of successful tutoring in Bozeman area schools. As your tutoring journey progresses, you will learn that you are not only serving as a tutor but functioning as a role model in students’ lives.
As an MSU ARAC tutor, you are expected to begin tutoring after you have been matched with a student(s). You will continue tutoring through the last day of MSU semester classes. You are not required to provide tutoring sessions during finals weeks or on any university holidays when there are no classes. It is important that you remind your cooperating teachers of these dates about one week in advance.
Please be sure to obtain a calendar or a list of holidays from the school(s) in which you are placed. If you neglect to do this you will find yourself showing up to tutor on days when the local schools may not be in session. Check with the secretary at your school to see what the best method is for you to obtain a calendar with those very important dates.
Below is important information about the policies/procedures of the ARAC program.
- Consistently follow the established schedule of tutoring with students you've bee assigned over the course of the semester and/or academic year;
- Complete your full term of service (volunteers at least one semester, work-study tutors serve one academic year);
- Maintain an active email account that is checked daily for program updates;
- Keep ARAC Program Coordinator updated on any changes in contact information, work-study funding status, or tutoring schedules;
- Remember that we do not have the financial resources to be able to compensate you for hours worked past your work-study award through our program, so please track your award closely. If you are nearing the end of your work-study award or if the amount of your award changes, it is YOUR responsibility to notify us and any other work-study employers.
- Maximum 20 work-study hours/week;
- Abide by the MSU Student Code of Conduct at all times;
- Never work with a student outside of school grounds or school hours;
- Never transport a student in any vehicle at any time for any reason.
- Honor and consistently abide by all school system and school building policies and procedures when on school grounds;
- Sign and abide by the Bozeman Public School District’s Volunteer Policy statement if tutoring in a Bozeman Public School setting.
- Always sign in and out at the school front desk to keep school officials informed about who is in their building at any given time…this matters a great deal in times of emergency;
- Cell phones must be turned off or on in the schools; the students and/or their teachers are the sole focal point, so phones have no place in a tutoring session; wait to check your phone until you are out of the school.
- Be respectful of all school staff members at all times.
- Be sure to notify ARAC Program Coordinator if:
- Your schedule changes.
- If your contact information changes.
- If your student moves, if you have trouble with your student, and/or if you become matched with another child without our knowledge.
- Clean up your outgoing voicemail message – teachers may be returning calls or initiating contact with you. The language, tone and volume should be professional, otherwise, it may reflect poorly on you and this program.
- Make sure your email name is appropriate and professional. No “[email protected]” If you have any doubts, use your MSU email, but make certain to check it daily or have those emails forwarded to a personal email address.
- Be diligent in maintaining communication with supervising teachers, reading or math specialists, librarians, and the program coordinator.
- Build positive and cooperative relationships with all cooperating teachers;
- At the beginning of a working relationship with the teacher(s), establish what mode of ongoing communication will work best for you both (emailing, notes, communications log, brief face-to face discussions etc.) and work to maintain that communication for the duration of the time working with that teacher’s student;
- Be respectful of all teachers with whom you interact at all times and be prepared to accept constructive criticism as a means to grow personally and professionally;
- Willingly and openly share your ideas, observations, concerns and thoughts with the cooperating teacher regarding the student with whom you work;
- Willingly and openly seek advice, suggestions, support and guidance from the cooperating teacher throughout the tutoring service term with any given student. Teachers are great resources!
- Respect and encourage the unique identities of the students with whom you work.
- Be prepared to be seen as a role model by students whom you tutor, so act in a mature and responsible manner at all times.
- Provide encouragement and support to students with whom you work.
- Exercise patience, understanding, and persistence in work with assigned students.
- At all times, respect the confidentiality of students and their families.
The MSU student is to perform his/her job in a professional manner. S/he is required to comply with the directions of his/her supervisor and to conduct him/herself in a manner consistent with his/her responsibilities. A student wh o fails to do so will be removed from his/her assignment and from the program. The student:
- Is expected to give regular, punctual, efficient performance;
- Agrees to remain on the job for the duration of the period of eligibility;
- Must notify his/her supervisor when illness or some other unforeseen circumstance prevents his/her attendance at work;
- Must give adequate notice to both employer and the Office of Financial Aid Services when terminating Work Study;
- Must monitor hours worked to ensure the award amount is not exceeded.
- Turn in completed monthly time logs with appropriate teacher signatures by the duedates specified;
- Falsifying Hours. If a tutor is caught falsifying hours, you will be terminated immediately from your position and will be reported to MSU Financial Aid which may result in lost eligibility for Work Study funding in subsequent years. You will also be placed on the ARAC “DO NOT HIRE” list and will be ineligible to be employed with the program or the MSU Office of Field Placement & Licensure in the future.
All tutors are required to participate in mandatory orientation and training. Our instructors focus on professionalism, tutor do's and do not's, what works, how to become acquainted with your student(s), role playing, and how to engage your student(s).
Fall ARAC Orientation scheduled: September 20, 2019, 2:00pm - 5:00pm.
To comply with the National Child Protection Act of 1993, the MSU Department of Education requires a mandatory national FBI criminal history background check, “to determine the fitness of an employee, or volunteer, or a person with unsupervised access to children.” This imperative applies to ARAC tutors. Go to the Fingerprint/Background Check Instructions webpage on how to proceed.
Work Study Tutors and Volunteer Time Sheets
Tutors keep track of the hours/days worked on timesheets available in MSU Box.
Work Study Tutors. MSU pay day is on the 11th of each month. Timesheets are due 2-3 days before the end of the month. On the last day of the month, work study tutors enter their hours in MSU WebTimeEntry (WTE) in MyInfo. The hours entered on the timesheet must match the hours entered in WTE. ARAC cooperating teachers will confirm the hours/days worked.
Volunteer Tutors. For tracking purposes, volunteers are asked to enter hours/days worked on the Box timesheets as well. Volunteers do not enter hours in WTE
Please make contact with the cooperating teacher PRIOR to entering the school to begin tutoring. Below is a sample email to send to the cooperating teacher(s) with whom you will work. You are expected to begin tutoring within a week of having been matched with your students.
We ask you to, if possible, provide a local phone number to the cooperating teacher because many schools are no longer allowing teachers to make long distance calls from school phones. Any cell phone number that is not a local number may not be an option for teachers to use to contact you.
The teacher email format for all Bozeman Public Schools is as follows: [email protected]
Sample email sent to Teacher BEFORE starting to tutor:
Hello Mr. or Ms.
My name is (list your first and last name) and I am an MSU America Reads America Counts tutor this year. We have completed our initial tutor training and are expected to begin work with our assigned students this next week. I have been assigned to work in your classroom at (provide the times and days. I plan to begin tutoring on (provide day of the week, date, and time). Unless you email me otherwise, I will plan on coming to your classroom at this time to meet you and the student(s) I have been assigned. I am looking forward to meeting you both and working with the student under your direction to assist him or her with greater success in literacy or math skill development.
My contact information is as follows for your records:
Local Phone Number
Cell Phone Number
Your First and Last Name
Anderson School, 10040 Cottonwood Road, 406-587-1305
Bozeman Summit School, 3001 Villard Street, 406-505-3778
Chief Joseph Middle School, 4255 Kimberwicke, 406-522-6300
Emily Dickinson Elementary, 2435 Annie Street, 406-522-6650
Gallatin Gateway School, 100 Mill Street, 406-763-4415
Great Beginnings, 100 Springhill Lane, 406-587-0132
Hawthorne Elementary, 405 E. Mendenhall, 406-522-06700
Hyalite Elementary, 3600 W. Babcock Street, 406-582-6800
Irving Elementary, 811 W. Alderson, 406-522-6600
LaMotte School, 841 Bear Canyon Road, 406-586-2838
Longfellow Elementary, 516 S. Tracy Avenue, 406-522-6150
Malmborg School, 375 Jackson Creek, 406-586-2759
Meadowlark Elementary, 4415 Durston Road, 406-582-6860
Monforton School, 6001 Monforton School Road, 406-586-1557
Morning Star Elemetary, 830 Arnold Street, 406-522-6500
Sacajawea Middle School, 3525 S. 3rd Avenue, 406-522-6400
Whittier Elementary, 511 N. 5th, 406-522-6750
You are about to enter into two very important relationships: one with your student(s), and the other, a partnership that you will develop with your student’s teacher. It is both essential and mandatory that you develop and maintain strong lines of communication with your student’s teacher, as he/she will be an invaluable resource to you in meeting your goals to provide your student(s) with the best possible tutoring.
Communication is Key!
Your relationship with your student’s teacher is two-fold. First, the cooperating teacher is considered your on-site supervisor at the school. He or she is there to give you direction, support, and guidance. However, for this relationship to reach its full potential, you must also work to create a partnership with the cooperating teacher in your efforts to help your student attain success. By working together, sharing information and ideas, and planning sessions accordingly, you will be better able to provide your student with the confidence, ability, and sense of accomplishment that he or she deserves.
Here are some tips to get the communication ball rolling and keep it rolling:
- Keep in regular contact with your cooperating teacher. Communicate your progress and share what is going on in your student’s tutoring sessions.
- Find out which method of communication works best for you (call, e-mail, leave a note for, or speak to the teacher in person) and your cooperating teacher and then use that method regularly!
- Understand that not all teachers will be the best communicators, just as is the case in any other group of people with whom you work or interact. You must plan to hold up your end of the relationship by staying in touch and keeping them posted on things.
The following are some tips to improve your confidence with communication and to help facilitate stronger and clearer communication between you, the teacher(s) with whom you will work, and your student(s):
- Always think before you speak or write.
- Pay close attention to what others say/write and how they are conveying the information.
- Be a good listener! Focus on the person with whom you are communicating and set other thoughts and tasks aside for another time, make eye contact and do not try to multi-task when listening!
- Unclog your speech. Avoid phrases such as “you know,” “like,” and “uh,” which do nothing but dilute the impact of what you’re saying.
- Be ready with a notepad and pen/pencil, always. You may be given instructions by teachers or wish to note things happening in a tutoring session and want to refer to them later, so come prepared.
- Highlight the positive! Are your conversations filled with negatives—words like “can’t,” “not,” and “won’t”? You will exhibit greater professionalism if you highlight what you or they can do; accentuate “yes,” “can,” and “will.”
- Be open and invite constructive criticism. This is how we gain new skills, learn about ourselves—both our strengths and weaknesses. Constructive criticism is meant to be insightful and helpful.
- Refer to teachers as “Ms.” or “Mr.” unless they ask you to do otherwise.
- Respect your cooperating teacher(s) as guides, mentors and experienced educators.
- All handwritten notes left for teachers should be legible.
- Email communications should be proofread for spelling and grammatical errors before sending to teachers.
- Always be open and honest with your cooperating teacher(s) about your student(s) (and your own) strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and successes which may affect the tutoring sessions or relationships.
We would like your tutoring experience to have the best possible start, so we have provided you with a number of tips that have proven useful to past tutors. As always, if you are having problems breaking the ice, talk with the cooperating teacher for ideas, and/or come in and talk to us and we will be happy to brainstorm with you. Here are some pointers on getting to know each other and initiating a comfortable tutoring atmosphere beginning with the very first session:
- Introduce yourself and let the student know how to address you.
- Learn to pronounce the student's name correctly.
- Inform the student that he/she can count on you and that you will be coming in on a regular basis. Remember that you must notify the teacher, student, and MSU ARAC Program Coordinator if you will be unable to attend a regularly scheduled tutoring session. This courtesy is essential when establishing trust with your teacher and student(s).
- Tell the student about yourself (how old you are, where you came from, what you're studying at MSU etc.), and ask the student specific questions about him/herself. Establish commonalties (i.e., favorite foods, pets, hobbies, etc.).
- Be warm and friendly. Regardless of their initial response to you, SMILE.
- Accept your student as he/she is; don’t be judgmental - at-risk students may try to shock or reject you at first, but do not be intimidated--hang in there.
- Discuss and mutually establish some rules for the tutoring sessions that you both believe are reasonable and respectful of one another (i.e., being honest with each other, committing to work for a set period of time and then maybe taking a short break to do something fun, checking in with each other at the start of the tutoring session to see how each of your days are going, being respectful and kind to one another).
- Begin the second visit with a review of the past week's activities and an update on what has been going on with you over the past week (keep it positive and upbeat) and ask them about their week.
- Provide an icebreaker or two, if all else fails. We have many of them available in the office, and if anything, they will make you laugh.
- Let your student know that you are human, too - don't be afraid to make mistakes or say "I don't know.”
- Reinforce and compliment skills the students already have or things that they do well.
- Be aware of the skills your students are working to improve.
- Never let your students struggle with their answers to the point of frustration; take a break and come back to it later.
- Know the classroom rules and expectations and abide by them; remember that you are a role model and a guest in the school.
- Ask for help when you need it! Not only is establishing a dialog with the classroom teacher essential to the success of your student, but it will also serve to keep you informed and empowered.
- Use positive reinforcement as much as possible; try using phrases, such as:
"I like the way you did that..."
"I've enjoyed meeting you, and I’m really looking forward to next week..."
- Remind the student that you will be seeing him/her at the same time next week or if you know you will not be there next week due to a holiday or PIR day be sure to tell your student that.