NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Teacher candidates in Stephen F. Austin State University’s Community Responsiveness and Engaged Advocacy in Teacher Education program, or C.R.E.A.T.E., have partnered with the Nacogdoches Public Library to provide free real-time drop-in homework help for local students.

“We know there is a lot of need in the community right now, with so many parents, grandparents and caregivers working to help their children learn from home,” said Dr. Heather Olson Beal, professor in SFA’s James I. Perkins College of Education. “We also hope this service is helpful to teachers, who can recommend that their students join the homework help sessions.”

The library is hosting free virtual drop-in sessions for teacher candidates to answer quick homework questions from 9 to 11 a.m. on Mondays and from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursdays throughout September on the Discord meeting platform.

The homework sessions are open to all local students, but students age 13 and younger will need a caregiver or guardian to register for them. To participate, visit

The library also is hosting a continuation of the free virtual activity lessons teacher candidates in C.R.E.A.T.E. began last spring when schools were shut down because of COVID-19. While providing a fun break during the day for children and their families and caregivers, these activities help teacher candidates give back to the community while gaining valuable online teaching experience.

Students can participate in these activities from 1 to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays and from 10 to 11 a.m. on Fridays throughout September. The lessons include art activities and science experiments designed for students in kindergarten through sixth grade.

Caregivers and guardians can register students for these activities at

“We think this is a great way to promote community while helping both local families navigating virtual learning and SFA teacher candidates working to gain real-world experience during the pandemic,” said Crystal Hicks, librarian at the Nacogdoches Public Library.

Depending on response, the sessions may continue beyond September, said Dr. Lauren Burrow, an associate professor in the Perkins College of Education.

“C.R.E.A.T.E. always tries to prioritize community needs and respond, creatively, so as the school year progresses, we’ll assess interest in these sessions and continue them as needed,” Burrow said.

To learn more, email Burrow at