Get SMART (Student Mentors and Reading Tutors)

Started in 1996, the Get SMART program matches Temple University undergraduates with CSPCD’s network of internal and external organizations to provide literacy tutoring to adult and youth learners. Each year, CSPCD recruits 50 to 75 Get SMART tutors to provide academic enrichment and support to approximately 250 adults and youth. External programs include those non-profits that exist in the neighborhoods that surround Temple University as well as Philadelphia public schools. Internal programs include our own workforce development projects, such as YEP and WELL.

The mission of the Get SMART (Student Mentors And Reading Tutors) Program is to significantly affect the educational future of youth and adult learners throughout Philadelphia and beyond by improving their reading skills.   In accomplishing this mission, the Get SMART Program: 

  • Mobilizes Temple University students to tutor youth and adult learners in North Philadelphia and the neighboring community.
  • Provides opportunities for students to network with other students doing literacy work.
  • Inspires students to be part of the national movement against illiteracy.
  • Provides valuable skills and knowledge for mobilizing individuals and community-based organizations around literacy issues. 

Thus, the fundamental purpose of the Get SMART Program is to enable Temple students to complement and expand existing successful literacy efforts to help others increase their skills and achievement levels. This is truly a win-win program. While the primary objective is to ensure that our participants improve their literacy, the enhanced relationships with community-based organizations and the benefits to Temple students tutors are equally important to Temple University. 

The gains to the community and the youth that we serve have already been felt. The documentation of our outcomes shows that we are making an impact on students, via quantitative and qualitative feedback, and they are also reporting their progress to their tutors.

  • 89.5% of learners report that they understand writing, math and reading better
  • 84% of youth learners report that they have seen their grades go up in these areas, and that their homework is more complete

Temple University’s Get SMART Program is unique. Get SMART harnesses current Temple undergraduate students who maintain an average GPA of 3.3. Tutors complete a thorough application process that includes FBI Fingerprinting, Child Abuse and Pennsylvania Criminal Checks, if working with youth. This ensures the most careful screening of the individuals who work with our adults and youth. We are able to maintain a strong, dedicated tutoring pool of volunteer and paid tutors who view this work as more than a job but as a way to help their community. Tutors are provided with training, supervision and guidance from their site supervisor and the tutor coordinator.

If you are interested in learning more about Get SMART or about tutoring at CSPCD, please contact