Baba Olumiji is the principal of Johnston Square Elementary School in Baltimore City Public School system. Photo by Zshekinah Collier.

Some Baltimore City Public School students may see an unfamiliar face in the classroom next year as local senior citizens are returning to schools seeking to offer guidance and mentorship to students.

Baba Olumiji, principal of Johnston Square Elementary School says he’s grateful to see the program dubbed Experience Corps return in February 2023.

“One of the things that we’ve discovered since we’ve been back to school full time since last year is that now more than ever, our children need to have love and support from as many trusted adults as possible,” Olumiji said.

Tutors offer extra hands and minds in the classroom for teachers in addition to academic and emotional support for students.

In the coming weeks, the program will return to Walter P. Carter and Arundel Elementary Middle school, Southwest Baltimore Charter School, and Johnston Square Elementary School.

But the tutoring program almost didn’t happen. During the coronavirus pandemic nearly three years ago schools shuttered and reverted to virtual learning for students.

A grassroots campaign led by Baltimore residents Jamal Davis and Robin Kaplan pushed for both the AARP Foundation and Baltimore City leadership to support its future.

Read more (and listen) at WYPR.