In this peer tutoring program spotlight, we turn our attention to the student-run tutoring club at Pope High School (Marietta, GA), sponsored by teacher, Corie Benton. Alongside her co-sponsor, Poonam Goel, Mrs. Benton not only offers guidance to club members but is also the primary liaison for parents and guardians seeking tutoring assistance for their children. This approach ensures a seamless process for addressing any concerns or issues that may arise, prioritizing effective communication and support for all involved.

We'll briefly explore this example of a thriving peer tutoring program, examining its structure, mission, and challenges.

Program Overview

Pope High School's tutoring club predates Mrs. Benton's tenure as its sponsor and her teaching career at the school. The club's core mission is to offer academic support to students struggling with various courses offered. Through personalized assistance, the club strives to empower students facing academic challenges, fostering a supportive environment where they can achieve their academic goals.

At the tutoring club, students have access to a wide range of subjects to receive assistance in. Whether struggling with science subjects like chemistry, physics, and biology, or seeking support in math content such as algebra, geometry, and pre-calculus, the club ensures help is available. Additionally, students can receive tutoring in languages including Spanish and French, as well as various literature subjects, spanning British, American, and world literature. Assistance is also available in subjects like world and US history, government, and economics.

The Peer Tutors

Tutoring typically involves older students guiding younger peers through the material. The tutors are carefully selected based on a combination of criteria, including academic performance, character, and communication abilities. Interested students must first complete an application and obtain recommendations from teachers. Once accepted, tutoring sessions are scheduled based on the availability agreed upon by both the tutor and tutee, offering flexibility for all participants.

Routines and Operations

The program operates through a coordinated structure of advertisement and sign-up processes. The program is advertised online (school website), through video announcements, and via a club fair held every semester. Students sign up to get tutoring via an online form, and the club president assigns tutors with tutees. Sessions typically last 20 to 30 minutes and take place in designated areas such as the Media Center, Mrs. Goel's classroom, the cafeteria, or teacher classrooms. A teacher is present during tutoring sessions to supervise. Meeting times are flexible but must adhere to specific timeframes, either before/after school by 4:00 PM or during dedicated tutoring times on Wednesdays. Tutoring sessions cannot be held off-campus or outside of school hours. Each student is allotted six weeks of tutoring to allow for others to get help and for the tutee time to use strategies learned on their own. While students cannot receive consecutive tutoring sessions after the allotted six weeks, they can sign up for tutoring again in the following semester.

One challenge in running the tutoring club has been the implementation of departmental tutoring programs by the school. These programs provide tutoring for specific subjects in a group setting, organized and run by teachers within those departments. As a result, the tutoring club's members have fewer opportunities to assist students compared to previous years. Additionally, recruiting enough tutors remains an ongoing challenge for the club. Despite these hurdles, the club remains committed to supporting and empowering students.


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