LOOKS BRIGHT: Students take lead in peer tutoring

Published 11:45 pm Friday, December 5, 2014

By Monique Roth

ST. ROSE — Every Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon from 3 to 5 p.m., Albert Cammon Middle School students are tutored in the school library, and while that in itself might not be revolutionary, the fact that it’s other sixth through eighth graders doing the tutoring is noteworthy.

Pirate Peer Tutoring is a unique program ACM offers to students whose grades don’t require them to participate in specific subject tutoring. It gives those students the chance twice a week to get extra help in any subject.

Fran Jumonville, ACM school counselor, said the fact the program is voluntary is “part of what makes it so successful.”

Jumonville, with the efforts of many school administrators and teachers, helped start the tutoring program this year.

She said the program started out with 11 tutors, all who were eighth grade student of the year nominees. Because of the amount of students requesting services, the program was expanded and now top performing sixth, seventh and eighth graders volunteer to tutor other students.

Jumonville said the tutors are the “smartest of our smart” students, who earn community service hours for Beta Club through tutoring.

Pirate Peer Tutoring covers all subjects, and an activity bus is available to take participants home. The program is mutually beneficial to all of the students involved, Jumonville said.

“(The tutors) know what’s going on in the classes,” she said, adding that increases the tutors’ effectiveness in helping others and they love “giving back to classmates.”

Seventh grader Emma Ryan said she started attending the tutoring sessions the first day they were offered, adding she likes that the tutors “have the same perspective” since they’re in class with her.

Jumonville said parents have been very receptive of the program, as have teachers who are supportive and provide her and the tutors with additional resources.

Julianna Berger, an ACM eighth grader, is one of the tutors.

“I was excited because it gives our school a chance to get better scores and it’s fun,” she said. “Its sometimes hard, but it’s worth it.

She said tutoring is rewarding when after hours of explaining something a student finally understands something they didn’t before.

“I love that moment,” Julianna said.

The program’s lessons, however, don’t stop at the academics, Jumonville said.

“Part of growing up is knowing when to ask for help,” she said of the students who volunteer to get tutored, “and the tutors are learning how to work with other people.”

Carolyn Berger, whose daughter Julianna tutors and daughter Katelyn gets tutored in the program, thinks the offering is awesome, adding both daughters look forward to tutoring days.

“Kids learn easier and with less stress from students,” Berger said, adding she thinks students are more apt to ask questions and not feel embarrassed when they are working with student tutors versus adult tutors or teachers.

Berger said for her daughter Julianna, as well as the other student tutors, Pirate Peer Tutoring “gives the kids a chance to showcase their talents.”