SRU education students introduce “Homework Helpers” to Slippery Rock


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Slippery Rock University students help tutor students from the Slippery Rock Area School District as part of a program through the College of Education called "Homework Helpers."

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Giving back to the community is in the DNA of almost every Slippery Rock University student. Be it through a service-learning opportunity or via philanthropy with a student club or organization, there is no shortage of active involvement on campus or in the community.

Case in point: the SRU College of Education's "Homework Helpers" program. Sponsored by the local chapter of the National Council of Teachers of English, the program connects tutors from SRU's COE with students from the Slippery Rock Area School District to assist with homework and studying.

"We have done a lot of other things that help people in a variety of ways, but I wanted the club to really focus on the value of promoting literacy in our community, on and off campus," said Autumn Harth, a senior secondary English education major and president of the NCTE's SRU chapter. "After all, that really is what our mission is all about."

Homework Helpers takes place from 3:30-5 p.m., each Monday at the Slippery Rock Community Library. Harth, who is also pursuing a minor in literature, wanted to use the library as the program's site because it is an ideal location for studying and a core element of the Slippery Rock community.

"The University is where a lot of things are, where a lot of things happen, so I asked myself, 'How can we get this (program) out into the world and make it a little bit bigger than just the University?,'" Harth said. "I'm so glad that we have done, and will continue to do, so much on campus, but I also want to touch the people that are here in the community where they live.

"The library is all about books, knowledge and learning, so having the program housed there is a natural."

The experience of working with children outside of a classroom setting is also important, Harth said, because the future educators from SRU can learn about various styles of teaching from the students they work with. Harth said she often encourages the students she tutors to share their classroom experiences and what works and what doesn't work for them so that she can then apply that information to her own educating strategies.

"All of us who are involved as a tutor in the program are going into the field of education, so it's really neat to get that extra 'practice' in a different setting versus just being in the classroom," Harth said. "Taking part in this program gives each of us a different perspective."

Harth, who hails from Eagle River, Alaska, said that another benefit of working with the SRCL was that Karen Eberhart Pierce, director of the SRCL, helped to quickly assimilate her to the Slippery Rock community, something she really values.

"Getting the program up and running during the first few weeks of the fall semester had its ups and downs, but Karen's collaboration, cooperation and enthusiasm made it much easier for all of us, tutors and students alike," said Harth. "It's been a win-win for everyone involved."

While being a member of the NCTE requires SRU students to be enrolled in a COE program, becoming a Homework Helper does not - just the proper clearances. To learn more about the program or to lend a hand, contact Harth at or visit the NCTE portal on CORE.

MEDIA CONTACT: Megan Bush | 724.738.2091 |