In October 2020, the Primary Prevention Mobile Health Unit (MHU), through the University of Arizona, and Arizona Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) began collaborating to mitigate the unexpected burdens from the transition from in-person learning to remote learning as result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While providing primary care prevention resources to children and family members, MHU team members learned that many children did not have the computer experience or resources to exceed in online school. The students, predominantly from underserved communities in metro Phoenix, needed extra support, something like a mentor or a tutor. The MHU approached community partners at AHEC to find a solution. RITE (Remote Integrated Tutoring Education) is a product of this relationship. Today, the RITE Program continues to grow and transition based on community priorities.
The RITE Program is a tutoring program, rooted in public health principles, providing opportunities for high school students to tutor elementary students in their same zip code. Undergraduate public health students (though an application process) serve as RITE Coordinator(s) each semester as a component of their internship. The coordinators work directly with the school personnel to identify tutors (high school students) and tutees (elementary students) who will benefit from tutoring. High school student tutors are often selected through the Future Teachers Club at their school. After selecting tutors, the coordinator provides RITE tutors with an hour orientation, training tutors on core public health concepts and tutoring practices. The coordinator position may also be absorbed by partnership organizations interested in adopting the RITE Program.
A long term goal of the RITE Program is the creation of a sustainable, low-cost, community-driven mentorship program at two levels. As elementary students benefit from the RITE program, elementary students are inspired to provide a similar level of mentorship years down the road as high school students. RITE tutors, high school students, develop mentorship relationships with RITE Coordinators, college students, who introduce the tutors to higher education opportunities at the University of Arizona and core public health concepts.
The RITE program framework is adaptable based on community priorities, student skillset (elementary, high school and undergraduate), and organization capacity.
RITE Coordinators and Community Partner Involvement
To learn more about the RITE Program and student and community involvement check out MEZCOPH's article Public Health Students Launch Tutoring Program to Support Remote Learning Challenges.
Interested in Implementing the RITE Program in Your Community?
Rite Coordinators Courtney Cavendish, Rabia Mahmood, Sabrina Nguyen, and Emma Sawyer developed the RITE Program Toolkit. The toolkit provides materials for schools and partner organizations (health departments, nonprofits etc.) to implement the RITE Program.
Items include: sample budget, pre-and post- surveys for elementary and high school students, the training for high school tutors, parent letter, and permission slips. Contact the Office of Community Engagement and Outreach for more information.
*RITE logo and graphics designed by Emma Sawyer