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National Honor Society struggles to effectively conduct peer tutoring

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National Honor Society struggles to effectively conduct peer tutoring

Image courtesy of Creative Commons

Image courtesy of Creative Commons

Image courtesy of Creative Commons

Zara Hall

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The National Honor Society (NHS) offers tutoring during STEP and after school, four days a week. They have put up posters to advertise, posted messages on the newsletter, and made announcements on the loudspeaker. Despite this, only four students have requested tutoring all year, according to club sponsor and social studies teacher Jennifer Brown.

The low participation has stemmed from many factors, including tutors not coming to sessions. According to Brown, the fulfillment rate for sessions after school is much lower than at STEP. There have even been several sessions when no tutors showed up. “The problem is, in one occasion, for example, when someone came to be tutored, no tutors showed up that day. So there wasn’t anyone to actually help him, which can also be deterrent to all his friends,” she said.

Jonathan Shea, who was the NHS sponsor for four years, believes that members lacking organization negatively affect turnout. “One of the problems I think some of the members of National Honor Society have with the tutoring center is it asks them to plan ahead which is something very few students at Wilson are any good at, at all,” he said.

To increase participation in tutoring, NHS holds tutoring in the math center on Tuesdays at STEP and after school. “Because the math center was already established and has been around for years, more people already know to go to that room to get help,” Brown said.

Although the NHS Organization requires that one half of all community service hours completed must be peer tutoring, many students were not genuinely completing this requirement last year. “The feedback we got last year was that a lot of teachers were asked to lie,” Brown said. “We wanted to create an honest approach where students could honestly say they had participated in a peer tutoring program.”

Students in NHS are required to complete eight hours of community service per advisory, four of which must come from peer tutoring sessions. Students’ tutoring hours come from NHS tutoring, unless they find another structured peer tutoring program to participate in. Brown has accepted several alternatives so far, including Estudiante 2 Estudiante and Butterfly, Spanish and French tutoring programs, respectively, as well as Best Buddies.

One challenge NHS has faced is finding teachers to fill the role of lead sponsor. After Shea left the position four years ago, no sponsor has continued beyond one year. Teachers Jennifer McLaughlin and Robert Geremia ran the program after Shea, followed by Charles Preacher, and currently, Brown. According to Shea, the teachers are all driven away by “the apathy of the students who are in it.”

“These are people around this building who are trying to work with students to do an organization that they say they want to be a part of,” Shea said. “Apparently maybe not for reasons greater than their college applications.” The organization has considered a variety of options to try and attract students that are legitimately interested in community service, not just in their college applications.

One proposal suggested abandoning the application process, instead simply having teachers choose which students they thought deserved to be honored. Another idea proposed would base admission to NHS largely on community service. Students, with the help of the organization, would outline plans for completing community service their freshman or sophomore year, and after three years, they would be admitted, assuming enough was completed and a certain GPA was maintained. Neither proposition was adopted, as the changes were ultimately thought to be too drastic.

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National Honor Society struggles to effectively conduct peer tutoring