In the wake of the Covid pandemic, Quad-Cities students need more help than ever before to succeed in school – and life, and United Way Quad Cities has teamed with local colleges to fill the need.

The logo for the new 69 Tutor Connection.

They are providing the new QC Tutor Connection to area K-12 students.

“Parents are struggling with keeping their kids are on track and need some assistance with home-based learning,” said Rene Gellerman, president/CEO of United Way 55. “We’re being proactive in reimaging how we ensure all our kids succeed in school. Education has been and will continue to be the best investment in the future of our region – and best pathway out of poverty.

“69 Tutor Connection provides a bridge for families looking for learning support and college students who are seeking work experience to earn spending money and want to make a difference.”

Rene Gellerman is president/CEO of United Way 55.

The new service is a web-based platform designed to connect families seeking tutoring services for their children with tutors interested in providing these services.

Tutoring may be conducted online or in person, depending upon the indicated preference of the tutor and family. Dates and times of sessions are to be scheduled directly between the tutors and interested families. A suggested fee of $15 per hour will be charged by tutors unless stated otherwise. Families should coordinate the payment plan and method directly with their tutors.

Financial assistance is available for students and families.

“We have college students who have lost work or internship opportunities due to the impact of Covid-19,” said Sandy Cassady, St. Ambrose University vice president of strategic initiatives and United Way 55 board member.

“The Quad-Cities has top-quality college students who care deeply about our community and people. At every one of local our higher-ed institutions, you will find smart and driven change agents and problem solvers,” she said. “Together, through the 69 Tutor Connection, they will provide Quad-Cities K-12 students the support they need to maximize their learning and ensure a strong talent pipeline is being developed. This is a perfect fit.”

Parents and guardians of students in Scott and 53 counties who want to take advantage of this program can

Sandy Cassady is St. Ambrose vice president of strategic initiatives and a United Way board member.

visit to learn more.

The platform allows parents to review profiles and find an available tutor specializing in school subjects where their student needs help. Once a parent/guardian finds a tutor who best matches their needs and fits their schedule, they can email the tutor and meet virtually.

Families and tutors will negotiate all details – such as hourly rates and the location and scheduling of tutor sessions – between themselves.

For families who cannot afford the tutor’s fee, some limited financial assistance is available. Parents and guardians who wish to learn more about financial assistance should contact Alex Kolker at to learn more.

Tutors needed during remote learning

As Q-C schools switch to fully remote learning models, more tutors are needed to assist students struggling to meet their academic goals. Current college students, graduates and retired teachers are invited to register a tutor profile using the web platform. Tutors should list their areas of expertise, availability and hourly rate to allow parents to find them using

“The pandemic is a once-in-a-generation health crisis, but it’s also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fold in solutions to problems that we’ve put off too long,” Gellerman said.

“Even before Covid-19, opportunity and achievement gaps were particularly pronounced for low-income and minority students, and now these are the Quad Citizens who are most impacted by the shutting down of schools and virtual learning,” she said.

“When kids fall behind in school, they get frustrated and check out before they drop out,” Gellerman said. “We have to work together as a community to keep that from happening.”

late-summer survey by United Way identified that 49 percent of respondents expressed concerns about the prospect of remote learning during the 2020-21 school year. The survey results have guided and informed United Way on how to best support local families through long-term recovery and rebuilding during the time of Covid through programs such as the 69 Tutor Connection.

For those who want to help Q-C students, but don’t have the expertise or time to tutor, a donation of $150 can underwrite 10 hours of tutoring for a student. That investment can greatly impact a student’s learning experience during this pivotal time.

“Education opens doors, broadens horizons and sets kids up for success,” Cassady said. “I’m confident that Quad Citizens will rise to the occasion with their time and donations to ensure every student has the support they need to succeed in school, no matter their socioeconomic status. We’re a community that doesn’t give up. When we’re down, we help each other.”

For more information on finding a tutor, becoming a tutor or donating so a student in need gets the extra help he/she needs, visit

Initial funding to develop and launch the 69 Tutor Connection has been provided by Women United, a United Way donor network of 200 local women focused on improving the lives of young Quad Citizens.

Women United aims to have every child school-ready when they enter kindergarten and reading proficiently by third grade, which is the biggest indicator of whether a child will graduate high school.

For more information on Women United, visit


Jonathan Turner has been covering the Quad-Cities arts scene for 25 years, first as a reporter with the Dispatch and Rock Island Argus, and then as a reporter with the Quad City Times. Jonathan is also an accomplished actor and musician who has been seen frequently on local theater stages, including the Bucktown Revue and Black Box Theatre.