The Centennial School District needs more people like Lindsay Bass.

Bass, a resident of Blaine, is a Reading Corps tutor at Blue Heron Elementary School.

Minnesota Reading Corps and Math Corps are statewide initiatives to help every Minnesota student become a successful reader by the end of third grade, and proficient in math by the end of eighth grade.

“In Minnesota about one in three third graders isn’t reading at proficiency for grade level. Our program is one of the data-driven, evidence-based programs that puts people in schools that directly target these kiddos in one-on-one meetings, where they might not always receive services because they are not the low enough kids to get all the extra attention,” said Program Manager Chris Erickson.

“Statewide, we partner with hundreds of schools and try to meet the communities’ needs where they are. We really work with those kids based on what they need and not necessarily where their grade level says they should be.”

Centennial still needs 13 tutors (11 reading and two math) for the 2019-2020 school year.

Bass, who is originally from North Dakota, moved to Minnesota with her husband in 2016. After working in the retail industry for over 15 years, she was looking for a change. “I was really looking to feel like I was doing something good out in the community,” she said. “I stumbled across the perfect opportunity, being able to give back, work with kids and make a direct impact.”

She stumbled across the tutor position while she was online job searching. This is her first year working as a tutor. She works 35 hours a week as a tutor and still works part time in retail.

Tutors are needed for three different levels of commitment: 35, 25 or 18 hours a week. Tutors receive 

a stipend every two weeks and can earn up to an additional $2,321 for student loans or tuition, which can be gifted to a family member if the tutor is 55 or older.

As a tutor, Bass enjoys building relationships with her students. “Getting to see the kids every day has been really fun. I love the supportive atmosphere ... There is such a strong support system in place that I really feel like you can’t fail in this position. There is so much communication, good support and training, and coming from retail, that’s very important for me,” she said.

Tutors are required to complete four full days of training. Tutors also receive ongoing training throughout the year and have access to coaches when needed. One thing that surprised Bass about the position is that tutors do not need to have a background in education.

“It doesn’t matter where you are at in your life, they give you what you need to know,” she said. “If anyone is considering it, it is such a worthwhile opportunity. I really consider myself lucky to have stumbled across this opportunity while I was looking for a different career path, because the fulfillment I get every day is so much more than I could have imagined it would be.”

Erickson said, “We have folks from 18 to 80 and everywhere in between.” Tutors must be 18 or older, have a high school diploma or GED and be a citizen or lawful permanent resident alien of the U.S.

Even though Bass has only been a tutor since August, she has already seen the impact she has on students. “They are more confident. Every week you can measure their progress, but every day you can see changes in how they are excited to be here,” she explained. “I have a kid who didn’t like to read and after two weeks together, he started bringing me books he wanted to read from home because he was excited to show off.”

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Editor Shannon Granholm can be reached at 651-407-1227 or

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