Peer tutoring program fosters student leadership

Kaitlin Lewis | Staff Writer

The Peer Tutoring program is killing two birds with one stone, giving lessons in both academics and leadership.

At the start of the 2016-17 school year, the Peer Tutoring program was overseen by math teacher Jere Clark, with help from now-seniors Jack Koenig and Sydnie Kong. The two students were a part of an independent study program and had tasks helping Clark as well as being tutors themselves.

“We had to commit to tutoring five days a week for the entire year,” Kong said. “Sometimes we would help Ms. Clark coordinate tutors and create resources for tutors to use.”

At the start of last year, 37 math tutors were trained for the program. Come the start of second semester, however, that number had grown immensely. In order to expand, Clark recruited two more students to join the student leadership team, causing immense growth.

Senior Noorah Basher became head of science tutoring, and 2017 graduate Hannah Wilder began scouting tutors from Teacher’s Academy. By May 2017, the number of trained tutors had doubled, and over 200 students were being tutored per week.

This school year, independent study students took a step up in leadership. Instead of working as tutors, five students now intern with peer tutoring, Basher, Koenig, Kong, and seniors Brady Neal and Lindsay Welage divide the responsibilities of the program among themselves.

Honors Anatomy and Physiology teacher Carol Lehman also joined the team to help Clark with overseeing the interns. Clark said these additional roles to the program helped to make the expansion easier.

“I was doing this all by myself last year,” said Clark. “Having another teacher helping out is how we dealt with the expansion. We also have people who are doing internships now, and the interns run the program basically.”

Being a hands on tutor in the program gives students a unique experience, according to Welage, who joined the Peer Tutoring team to gain exposure into a future career. Members of Teacher’s Academy are given a chance to apply what they learn in the classroom to a real scenario.

“I want to be a math teacher, so I thought it would benefit me,” Welage said. “I feel as a peer tutor I get to see what it is like to be individually with a student.”

Rather than tutoring, interns schedule tutors with students needing assistance in the offered subject areas and make sure the tutors are well prepared. No matter their envisioned career path, Koenig, who wishes to pursue a major in a field of engineering, said this internship can help students prepare for future job settings.

“I feel like this is helping me work with time management and being able to become a leader of a big organization,” said Koenig, “That will definitely help me out later when I get a job.”

While the program has grown tremendously in the last year, there is hope to reach out to even more students. The senior interns plan to train younger tutors who are willing to fill an internship role as well as help to expand into more subject areas.

“I would like to see it grow into more subjects,” says Koenig, “Not just mostly math and science. I would love to see us maybe find a writing lab or more foreign languages and a way to help out ESL kids and other people like that. That would be pretty cool.”