A great way to find ideas for setting up or improving your own peer tutoring program is by learning from the experiences of others in the development of their own programs. Today, we offer you an opportunity to learn about the peer tutoring program of Lincoln Sudbury Regional High School (LSRHS) in Massachusetts. We’d like to thank Austin Lessin and the staff at LSRHS for explaining the inner workings of Lincoln-Sudbury Youth Peer Tutoring below.
Lincoln-Sudbury Youth Peer Tutoring has been in operation since the fall of 2013. The primary purpose of the peer tutoring program is for high school students to tutor the elementary students present in their community. However, the program is far more than simply tutoring. Indeed, the program works towards building a durable bond between the high school and elementary school students. This bond greatly resembles that between siblings, in that the elementary students look towards their high school counterparts as role models, much as a younger child might look up to their older sibling.
Tutoring currently takes place at Nixon Elementary school. Since the tutoring occurs directly after school, tutoring is not restricted to a single room but rather occurs throughout the building. The tutoring occurs immediately after the elementary school is dismissed at 3:30pm until about 5:30pm.
Our tutors are selected based upon a combination of both their merit and personality. The tutors generally represent the upper tier of their class and overall exhibit clear leadership skills. As a program, we communicate often with the tutors via check-ins that occur approximately once a month. Before the program starts each year, the tutors are expected to attend a meeting where they learn about the proper behavior for tutoring. After this first meeting, meetings are held approximately once a month to make sure that the tutors continue following these behavioral protocols and are the most effective in educating their elementary students. The tutors receive community service hours for the time they spend, but most tutors continue the tutoring far beyond the point when they meet their graduation requirement of 15 hours. Most tutors continue tutoring simply because they enjoy the program and look forward to seeing the elementary students each week.
We evaluate tutor performance through the faculty personnel present at the school, who monitor the students’ and tutors’ behavior. Additionally, we regularly ask students to discuss their experiences with us, and specifically what has been happening each week at the program.
As a program, we conduct frequent meetings to discuss any issues that have arisen in the program and any concerns that the tutors have. Additionally, there are adult faculty members in the elementary school that directly oversee the tutoring so that the program is as effective as it can be.
The primary hurdle we faced at the program’s inception was the difficulty of coordinating a schedule between the high school and elementary school. Eventually, we came to a conclusion that the tutoring would work most effectively if it was held after school, so that students would be able to arrive at the elementary schools directly after they are dismissed each day. In the future, we anticipate our hurdle to be recruitment for further expansion, and we hope to overcome this by increasing program recognition throughout the high school. So far, however, the program has operated relatively smoothly.