Students sit in class on the first day of in-person school at Madison Park Primary in Oakland. Credit: Oakland Unified School District

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Oakland public schools resumed in-person instruction on a limited basis this month, opening the door for thousands of kids to return to their classrooms. But after a year of at-home learning and lost academic momentum caused by the pandemic, will they be ready once they get there?

To help parents, families, and students concerned about learning loss, The Oaklandside rounded up information about several Oakland and Bay Area organizations currently providing free academic support, including individual and small-group virtual tutoring. 


Allen Temple Baptist Church, located in East Oakland, is partnering with a group of UC Berkeley students to provide free virtual tutoring once a week through Zoom. On Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., students in elementary and middle school can get extra help in math, language arts, and science. Tutoring is free, but families must register online. For more information, contact bwhite@allen-temple.org

Boost! West Oakland offers free virtual tutoring for students living or attending school in West Oakland. The sessions are once a week on Wednesdays from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Families can apply for one-on-one tutoring through an online form. Contact info@boostoakland.org with questions.

Community Education Partnerships is an organization that supports Bay Area students experiencing homelessness. The group’s free one-on-one tutoring services happen weekly and are available for students in all grades. Students or families experiencing homelessness or housing instability can sign up for a tutor on the organization’s website

The Oakland Education Fund, a nonprofit organization that supports Oakland Unified School District, also matches students with volunteer tutors for free. To be matched with a virtual tutor, families in OUSD schools should ask their student’s teacher to nominate them online. High schoolers can also be matched with career coaches who can work with them through the college application process, interviewing tips, or exploring careers after high school. For more information, contact Lilly Smith, the program manager for the Ed Fund’s school volunteer program at lilly@oaklandedfund.org.

The Oakland Public Library provides free access to Tutor.com, an online service that helps students in all grade levels in a range of subjects, including Advanced Placement courses and SAT and ACT preparation. Students can get live, one-on-one tutoring, or drop-off help, where they “drop off” a math problem or assignment and get a response within 24 hours. Oakland Public Library members can go to tutor.com/OPL and log in using their library card number to create an account.

The Oakland Reach was recently awarded a $900,000 grant to partner with Oakland Unified School District to expand its Virtual Family Hub, which launched last summer to support Oakland families with free academics and technical training on Monday to Thursday afternoons. Families interested in joining The Hub can fill out an online form on The Oakland Reach’s website

Writer Coach Connection is an East Bay organization that helps seventh to 12th graders improve their writing skills. Students can enroll in the free monthly writers’ cafe program and attend four 45-minute sessions for assistance with a writing project. While the April sessions are fully booked, May is still open. The four May sessions will be on Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, and students can sign up online.

Ashley McBride reports on education equity for The Oaklandside. She covered the 2019 Oakland Unified School District teachers’ strike as a breaking news reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. More recently, she was an education reporter for the San Antonio Express-News where she covered several local school districts, charter schools, and the community college system. McBride earned her master’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University, has held positions at the Palm Beach Post and the Poynter Institute, and is a recent Hearst Journalism Fellow.