Happy New Year! The PTRC is excited to kick off its 2016 blogging year with this peer tutoring program spotlight featuring Trantwood Elementary School. At this time, many educators like you are entering the new year thinking about what new approaches to try or how to improve your already existing systems. Got peer tutoring on your mind?
Well, come along with us for some peer tutoring program inspiration as Trantwood Elementary’s Lisa Lee walks us through the inner workings of her school’s after-school peer tutoring program in Virginia Beach, VA. You’ll also want to stick around for a plethora of helpful resources she has donated to the PTRC peer tutoring resource library.
Trantwood Elementary School Counselor, Lisa Lee LPC MSEd
Located in the suburban neighborhood of Great Neck in Virginia Beach, VA, Trantwood Elementary has about 500 students K-5, with about 14% with free and reduced lunch.
Lisa Lee is the school counselor for all the grades k-5 students, and runs all aspects of the school’s peer tutoring program including soliciting tutors and tutees, training the tutors and supervising the program. Because she “thought it was a wonderful program”, Lee has continued to support the peer tutoring program which she says has been around before she became school counselor a decade ago.
About 70 students (35 tutors and 35 tutees) participate annually in Trantwood Elementary’s peer tutoring program. The tutors are 4th and 5th graders while the tutees’ grade levels range from 1st to 5th. Both tutors and tutees are recommended by their teachers to participate in the program. Tutees are recommended as needing academic remediation while tutors are recommended as having strong character, academic and leadership skills. Lee adds, “It is considered an honor to be chosen as a tutor, and the students are excited to volunteer their time to help.”
Tutoring location: Cafeteria
Program duration: 10 weeks, winter and spring
Tutoring hours: 2:45pm – 3:30pm once a week, after school
Students come to the cafeteria after school on tutoring days, meet up with their tutors and get their folder full of material provided by their teachers to work on at a table.
Teachers assist by recommending tutors and tutees, and each week they put supplemental academic material/educational games in tutees’ folders for the tutors.
Lee conducts a 30-45 minute training session for the tutors to explain the process, expectations, and discuss how to handle potential situations. At the conclusion of the training the tutors get their tutee assignments for the year (one student per tutor) and they are asked to introduce themselves before the first tutoring session.
In Lee’s words, “I believe the program is very effective, not only in building the academic skills of those tutored, but also building the leadership skills of the tutors, and the relationships between students across grade levels.”
At the conclusion of the program, Lee solicits feedback from the tutors by conducting a survey which is used to gather insights on how to improve the program. Students share what worked well, what they would like to see changed, added and so on.
Describing the program as “very inexpensive”, Lee credits the PTA for their generous donations used in running the program on a budget of $250. Funds are used in purchasing “folders for each tutee, and pays for a pizza party and gifts for the students at the conclusion of the program.”
When asked about challenges faced with the peer tutoring program, Lee says, “There is the potential for misbehavior on the part of the tutee, but I have been blessed with parent volunteers who help me supervise and circulate among the students while they are working.”
In an effort to encourage program participation, there are instances where Lee has volunteered (with parent permission) to help students without transportation get home after tutoring sessions.
On the issue of setting an ideal length of time for the program, Lee says “towards the spring the kids start getting anxious to get home and get outside after school, so I've learned to keep my program to a reasonable length of time (10 weeks seems to be enough to make a difference yet not have student burnout).”
The PTRC (Peer Tutoring Resource Center) wishes to thank Lisa Lee for showcasing her peer tutoring program and donating materials to the resource library.
Interested in contributing to the resource library? Find out how to submit documents