Program founders, Natasha Turner and Rachael Netrefa researched and implemented the peer tutoring program at Hillcrest High School during the 2015-2016 school year. Below is a compilation of their responses to our questions about the program.
Hillcrest High School is part of the Hillcrest School District in Strawberry Arkansas, a rural district in Lawrence County serving approximately 420 students district wide. There are approximately 210 students on the high school campus. Demographically, the district is an impoverished district according to the state. 97% of the students at Hillcrest High are Caucasian, while 65% of students qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch.
The tutoring program was set up as a result of overwhelming number of students attending the after-school, teacher-led tutoring sessions that were already in place at the district.
The program is set up to offer one to one or small group student-led after-school tutoring sessions. Program participants are students who have been identified by teachers, parents, or themselves as needing additional help or work time as well as Beta members who expressed interest in being tutors.
As program founders and Beta Sponsors, Mrs. Turner and Mrs. Netrefa utilized Beta Club members as tutors for the program. Tutees are students who have been identified by teachers, parents, or themselves as needing additional help or work time.
Sessions take place on the high school campus in a designated building. Students are divided into grade level rooms throughout the building. Students receive tutoring in any subject area where a need is identified. Students begin the tutoring sessions at 3:15 pm on Wednesdays by signing into the office and picking up a snack provided by the district. Students then report to their designated locations where they work collaboratively with their tutor to establish goals for the day and identify work or content that needs to be addressed for that day. Students spend the remainder of the time working to complete that goal. Teachers facilitate and monitor learning and progress and are available for questions throughout the session. Sessions end at 4:15 pm and students are picked up by their parent/guardian.
Each tutor is required to take part in an orientation process at the beginning of each school year. This orientation is meant to provide students with skills and direction for their role as a tutor/mentor. Since there is no formal curriculum for the program, tutors are expected to have mastered grade level skills to that point. This is determined by their membership in Beta, teacher recommendation, and counselor referral. Tutees are also required to attend an official meeting in order to know the program procedures and meet possible tutors.
Program founders, Natasha Turner and Rachael Netrefa continue to work closely with the program as facilitators. New Tech Director Beth Maxwell also facilitates the program throughout the year. Additional teachers have been added to aid in facilitation as program participants have increased.
Evaluation of the program is based on the number of participants, acknowledgment of increased skill in schoolwide learning outcomes, and improved grades across disciplines. Student surveys from both tutors and tutees have also been used in evaluating the effectiveness of the program.
The costs incurred in running the program is the hourly pay rate for teachers that stay to facilitate the program and the costs of snacks. Of course, snacks are not a required part of the program.
The Peer Tutoring Resource Center wishes to thank Natasha Turner and Rachael Netrefa for contributing to our peer tutoring program spotlight series and sharing sample materials from their program. We will share some of these documents in a subsequent blog post when we're done uploading them to the site. If you're not signed up to receive newsletters from us and would like to be alerted when the materials become available, please sign up to receive notification.
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