For Tutors and Mentors

Thank you for your interest in the Upward Scholars tutoring and mentoring program. 

The Upward Scholars tutoring and mentoring program provides an opportunity for community volunteers to work one on one with Upward Scholars students at a time and location that is convenient to the tutor and the student. Tutors help students with their course work, most often intermediate and advanced ESL classes. Mentors provide support for students embarking on new careers.

Below are resources that will help you learn more about these programs and be a more effective tutor or mentor. 

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Upward Scholars Tutoring and Mentoring Application

To sign up to be an Upward Scholars tutor or mentor, please complete this application.

Substitute Tutors

If you need to miss more than one or two tutoring sessions, please contact our coordinator, Milena Miyashiro at She will try to find a tutor to take your place while you are unavailable.

Important Dates for Fall 2019 Semester

Important dates for the current semester are here. 

Presentations for Tutors

Resources for Tutors

Cañada College: ESL class descriptions
A summary of all ESL classes taught at Cañada College is here in order to get an overview of the classes your student is taking. If you would like more information about the ESL classes, please see the ESL program at Cañada College here.

Resources for tutors helping students with writing and editing

Resources for tutors helping students improve reading comprehension

Tips from tutors for making tutoring sessions more productive

Grammar and writing websites to share with students (recommended by Cañada College ESL faculty)

Conversation-related activities to use during your sessions

Online grammar activities for tutors to share with students (recommended by Cañada College ESL faculty)

Online grammar sites (recommended by Upward Scholars tutors)

Recommended grammar and writing books
The following books are highly recommended by ESL teachers. They can be expensive, so you may want to purchase them used. Upward Scholars can reimburse you for any book you purchase in connection with tutoring.

  • Azar, Betty Schrampfer, Basic English Grammar. The first book in the series, it covers most but not all of what is taught in Grammar and Writing 2 at Cañada College. You can purchase either the third or fourth edition. Make sure you get the textbook and not the workbook.

  • Azar, Betty Schrampfer, Fundamentals of English Grammar, 3rd or 4th Edition. The second book in the Azar series, it is more advanced than Basic English Grammar. Make sure you get the textbook and not the workbook.

  • Raimes, Ann, Grammar Trouble Spots: A Guide for Student Writers. This book helps students identify and correct common grammatical errors.

  • Weal, Elizabeth, Writing in English: Step by Step. This is a good review of basic English grammar. Students should be familiar with this material before they enroll in Grammar and Writing 2, the first Cañada College writing class that Upward Scholars students take. (This book is available free for all tutors. Let Elizabeth know if you’d like copies for you and your student.)

Grammar summary cards
Grammar summary cards provide concise summaries of key grammar points. Two that we recommend are English Grammar Fundamentals 1 and English Grammar Fundamentals 2

ESL sites for current events
These sites may be useful if you want to encourage your student to take advantage of online current event sites for ESL students. 

  • Voice of America News: You might start or end your tutoring session by reading a few captions from The Day in Photos.

  • Breaking News English: Leveled reading passages as well as exercises that you can print and give to your student.

  • Simple English News: Very short news articles and vocabulary, with video clips.

ESL podcasts

Listening to podcasts, and then discussing them, is a great way to engage with your student. This site has an excellent selection.

Encouraging Your Student to Read

Reading is an excellent way for ESL students to increase their knowledge of English. If you and your student meet at a library, make sure your student has a library card. Then, help him or her to find appropriate books. If you’re looking for nonfiction, go to the children’s section. For a list of fiction appropriate for most Upward Scholars recipients, check out the list from the ESL Department at City College of San Francisco. 

Upward Scholars Tutoring Facebook Group

Meet other tutors and share tutoring issues or questions on the Upward Scholars Tutoring Facebook Group page. 

Cañada College: WebSMART

WebSMART is Cañada College’s student information system. Students use it to find their grades, add and drop classes, order a transcript, etc. Students should be familiar with how to use WebSMART. If they’re not, basic instructions are here.

Internet for Low-Income Families

If your student has children who participate in the free or reduced-cost school lunch program, your student’s family can receive the Internet a home for about $10 a month. Information is available in English and Spanish.

Food Resources Available to Students

Students who live in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties can receive free food.  Please enocurage them to call Food Connection at 1-800-984-3663, Monday - Friday, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm, to learn about available food resources (pick up, delivery, meals, etc.).

San Mateo County Community Information Handbook 2019

Developed by the Human Services Agency of San Mateo County. Click here for the English Edition or here for the Spanish Edition.