Summit High School student launches student tutoring program |

Summit High School student launches student tutoring program

Summit Daily/Mark Fox

When Summit High School junior Amanda Moore was asked to be a peer tutor in her chemistry class, she began thinking about it in a broader context.

What if she wasn’t the only tutor? What if more students needed help? And because she’s seen a viable television version of a high school peer tutoring center in her favorite show, “One Tree Hill,” the idea was born: students helping students at Summit High Schoo – for free.

“I felt it would be really beneficial for some of the students who go here,” she said.

And so Moore, who’s in the high school’s student leadership class, began doing online research and connected with Holly Baldwin, one of the school’s counselors, to get the ball rolling.

She’s since learned that when a freshman fails a class, it significantly impacts his or her ability to graduate on time, which only further compelled her to move the idea forward.

The school has several free and fee-based tutoring options for students to get help from adults, Baldwin said, but Moore’s peer tutoring idea could be the first of its kind in the high school.

“It’s so refreshing to have a grassroots movement from Amanda,” Baldwin said, adding that about five years ago, Summit High School teachers encouraged a peer tutoring system. It lasted about two or three years before fizzling, she said.

Moore wanted to have students do the tutoring because “they’ve been through it,” she said, adding that it’s helpful to have experienced a teaching style to help students understand approaches they may need to take.

“I think the upperclassmen are reflecting on their freshman year … What could have been a support that could’ve helped them?” Baldwin said, adding that she can foresee the tutoring center eventually morphing into a mentoring program.

Moore expects the center to open in the next few weeks. Those freshmen who need the most help out of 38 who expressed interest will be paired, probably two-to-one, with about 13 upperclassman tutors who volunteered to participate. Moore and Baldwin want to avoid overloading the tutors as the project launches.

“It was cool to see that people actually wanted to help,” Moore said.

She’s also excited to see how many younger students want to do well and get the help. If they start well, it could build the momentum to continue to succeed, she said.

The logistics still need to be ironed out, but Moore said students will be paired according to personality and according to subject needs and strengths – the most common needs are math and English, she said – and then let the tutors work out meeting places and schedules with their freshman learners. A study space is to be set aside for tutoring during and after the school day.

Baldwin’s role is to oversee the project, help it move forward, and ensure tutors are well-versed in their expectations, boundaries and appropriate meeting places and conversations to have. She’ll also be a liaison with teachers to keep them informed of which struggling students are in the program and which students are helping so they can have some involvement.

“I really want this to be teamwork with the teachers,” Moore said, explaining that connecting tutors with teachers will help give direction for the additional instruction. Moore added that she can see that the tutoring center could help move standards-based grading forward.

“It’s all what you can do with the material,” she said. “Getting extra help and looking beyond what (the material) is will really help.”

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