KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Bill and Crissy Haslam, Tennessee’s former governor and first lady, are launching a new program to help elementary students at risk of falling behind in studies due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a release, The Bill and Crissy Haslam Foundation, in partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs and other youth-serving organizations across Tennessee, launched a new statewide
Tennessee Tutoring Corps (TTC) to provide summer learning opportunities for rising K-6th grade students whose education has been interrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

They’re recruiting qualified college students whose plans have changed due to COVID-19 to serve as tutors to kids primarily in Boys & Girls Clubs across the state.

WATE 6 On Your Side’s Lori Tucker talked with the Haslams via Zoom on Monday about the new project and how a college student you may know can get involved.

The Haslams shared with WATE 6 On Your Side why the education initiative’s importance to students — both elementary and college – is amplified now due to COVID-19.

“We’ve known forever that all students but particularly low income students lose a lot over the summer of what they gained the prior year,” Bill Haslam said. “The concern is this year with the summer being almost twice as long, the summer break with kids missing school and school only being two-thirds of what it was before, we’re going to really have not just a summer slide, but avalanche of lost knowledge from the year before.”

Regarding how the program works and how parents of kids who can get involved, the Haslams explained:

“Well, we see this as a unique year,” Crissy Haslam said. “We think there are a lot of college students out there whose summers have changed. They had an internship that’s not going to work out or study abroad program and so we want to offer a job to some college students – hoping for 1,000 college students to be tutors across the state and pay them $1,000 each and that may not be as much money as they might have made before, but this would be a part time job, tutoring our kids through the Boys & Girls Clubs.”

With some places starting to reopen, the opportunity for in-person tutoring with the program is actually option.

“The plan is for this actually to be in-person, socially-distanced, one-on-one tutoring,” Bill Haslam said. “We just think that’ll be so much more helpful than doing it online as we’ve been attempting to do for the last 2 or 3 months, so we also think that person-to-person contact is really important for students particularly, again, after such a long break.”

If you’re a college student and interested in tutoring, here’s what you need to know:

  • Qualified tutors must be current college students and must pass a background check.
  • Preference will be given to those who have a 3.0 GPA or higher, have at least completed their freshman year, and are Tennessee residents.
  • Interested candidates can learn more and submit an application on the Tennessee Tutoring Corps website at
  • The deadline for applications is 11:59 am EST on Friday, May 29th.

TTC is a pilot project that will be evaluated for effectiveness and feasibility in considering future opportunities.