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Guidelines for Basic Literacy and English as a Second Language Tutor Training


2012 Annual Meeting & Conference, June 14 & 15, 2012, New Mexico State Library, Santa Fe, Student of the Year, Nannete Valle (left) with Tutor of the Year, Marie Poirier Gilroy (middle), of the Literacy Center at UNM – Taos, with Director Judy Hofer. Both hailed from the same program this year – what a dynamic duo!

  • Programs need a Basic Literacy (BL) student and volunteer tutor recruiting plan. The recruitment plan is a joint effort between the program and board. Programs also need an English as a Second Language (ESL) student and volunteer tutor program plan that shows how your program plans to balance the intake of students and tutors with support of them. Usually, a recruitment plan is not needed for serving this population.
  • The NMCL Training Coordinator will send out a written request for programs’ “wish lists” of BL and ESL tutor trainings for the fiscal year. Your program should determine training dates with some flexibility. Typically, the NMCL needs at least two months’ lead time and your program will need it for recruitment. Programs must request all trainings in writing (email or fax preferred). Trainers may not be requested by name.
  • Once the student recruitment plan is in place, and programs have created a waiting list of BL and ESL students, the Training Coordinator will start scheduling tutor trainings for your program as close as possible to the wish list dates.
  • Based upon available resources, trainings will be granted. Programs will receive a written notice if a training has been confirmed or if programs must wait for training.
  • The NMCL will contact trainers to see who will be available to train on your dates and will negotiate those dates if no one is free at that time.
  • The goal is to match volunteer tutors with students from your program’s wait list soon after training.
  • Programs usually volunteer to host a training that includes trainees from nearby programs. The host program should plan to have refreshments for the tutor training. The host program will provide a safe environment for the trainer and attendees and will have a program representative in attendance during the training (can be staff, board member, volunteer tutor, etc). The program will contact NMCL trainers in advance of the training to coordinate details such as, but not limited to: locations (directions/map), audio/visual needs, to confirm times, and to coordinate materials/copies (if needed).
  • Keep in mind that training is progressive. Do not send a trainee to take the second day of training without first completing the first day of training. Similarly, do not send a tutor trainee to a BL Training on Day One and to an ESL training on Day Two, or vice versa. Training and certification must be for the same discipline.
  • Send the number of tutors to be trained to the Training Coordinator two weeks prior to the training date. Indicate how many are from your program and how many are from other programs (list the name of the program and number of attendees). If the combined number of tutors exceeds 25, the Training Coordinator will contact programs to re-schedule some of their tutors for a later training. Your program must recruit a minimum of 10 individuals for each tutor training and must contact the NMCL office immediately if this is not possible. A program representative must cancel the training if fewer than 8 volunteers appear at the first session and will notify the NMCL immediately. Trainers are not responsible for cancelling trainings.
  • Trainers are independent contractors. If a training must be cancelled with advance notice due to low turn out or some other uncontrollable factor, the program must contact the NMCL Training Coordinator immediately, or at least two weeks before the scheduled training. If training must be cancelled without prior notice due to low turnout or an act of providence, the program may be asked to pay an appearance fee and related expenses if the trainer has prepared lesson plans and has arrived to the site prepared to train. The trainer can ask you for up to $100. They’ve never done that in the past, but they know they are entitled to. We pay our trainers a base fee plus expenses. You normally would pay nothing.
  • The Basic Literacy and ESL tutor training takes 16 hours plus your literacy program’s required orientation session.
  • You are welcome to send your trainees to other area-programs and the NMCL will compensate for mileage as funding allows if tutors are traveling less than 120 miles. The Training Coordinator must receive a request at least two weeks prior to the training so that the NMCL can determine whether it can reimburse the mileage and budget accordingly . Tutors must carpool if more than one is coming from the same program.
  • Each tutor will need specific books for training. For ESL your program will need to provide each tutor with I Speak English and for Basic Literacy your program will need to provide TUTOR, at minimum. There are supplementary books the NMCL can recommend, as well. These books can be part of your library to check out to new volunteer tutors, or they may be purchased outright for your volunteer tutors. Some programs charge their tutors for the required materials. The NMCL has Materials Grants available (as funding permits); your program can apply for funding that will just about cover the cost of training materials. However, any materials purchased with a NMCL Materials Grant must remain part of your permanent collection and must be provided to tutors on loan. You may also borrow books from the NMCL’s Resource Center if enough notice is provided to the NMCL (at least two weeks).
  • Your program shall conduct an orientation (between 1 to 2 hours) for the new volunteer tutors within two weeks of the training to provide volunteers with an opportunity to review tutor materials in preparation for the training, and/or to opt out of training if necessary. See the attached Orientation Guidelines.
  • Tutor trainings must be comprised of 95% local literacy program volunteers; paid teachers and staff from other types of service providers may not attend the training. All attendees must sign the NMCL sign-in sheet provided by trainers, listing each trainee’s name, title, and program affiliation at minimum.
  • Your program must make certificates for all trainees that are to be signed by the trainer.

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