The student news site of Western Albemarle High School - Crozet, VA

The Western Hemisphere

The student news site of Western Albemarle High School - Crozet, VA

The Western Hemisphere

The student news site of Western Albemarle High School - Crozet, VA

The Western Hemisphere

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Peer Tutoring: Students Helping Students

Peer+Tutoring+helps+both+clients+and+tutors+gain+a+better+understanding+of+the+subject.
Credit: Reid Keller
Peer Tutoring helps both clients and tutors gain a better understanding of the subject.

Across the hall from the auditorium lies an unassuming classroom. Its blue door and brick exterior are no different from any other C-wing room. The small gray sign affixed above the door reads C103. Inside this room, the similarities end. This is the Learning Center, home of the Peer Tutoring program. 

Ms. White and Ms. Larson are the leaders of the Peer Tutoring program. Both are veteran teachers, having worked at Western for 17 and 22 years, respectively. Ms. White was formerly an English teacher, and now manages Peer Tutoring in addition to coordinating the school-based intervention team. Ms. Larson taught social studies and history before becoming Western’s testing coordinator and joining as co-head of peer tutoring. 

As part of the school-based intervention team, Ms. White and other teachers noticed that many students were arriving at Western without the necessary organizational skills for high school, which was causing anxiety and stress among the student population. Ms. White was looking for a way to “alleviate some of the academic stress a little bit, [and] maybe that will help overall mental health for [WAHS] students.” The answer was the Learning Center, which was supported by the principal at the time, Mr. Bonham. Albemarle High School has had its own student help program for several years, which helped to inspire and inform Western’s. Although the programs have similar aims, Western offers Peer Tutoring in all subjects, as opposed to Albemarle’s English-only program at the time.

Recently, the Learning Center had a record number of clients sign up for tutoring services. 127 students were scheduled to come in, and 90 showed up. On average, 60-75% of tutoring appointments actually occur. Requests for math make up half of all tutoring sessions, followed by Spanish, science, English, and history. The Learning Center currently has 62 tutors enrolled across all eight periods, 17 of which are former clients.

In addition to scheduled Peer Tutoring classes, the Learning Center offers several other ways to get help. Students who don’t have the availability to take the Peer Tutoring course but still want to teach others can join the volunteer Peer Tutoring program. After a training course from Ms. White, volunteers can help clients during Warrior Period. Another tutoring service offered is push-in tutoring. Teachers can request tutors to come into their classes to assist students, either regularly or for special events. Currently, the Learning Center is collaborating with 3-4 teachers to offer push-in tutoring.

Carsten Paschke is an 11th grader in his first year of tutoring. Currently, he tutors in English and history and sees 1 to 2 tutees per week. Paschke’s favorite part of tutoring is “seeing [his] clients succeed with [his] help.” His colleague Bailey Brethren is a senior in her second year at the Learning Center. She believes the value of Peer Tutoring is that students are more likely to listen to peers than adults and that they find them more relatable. 

Peer Tutoring offers unique educational benefits compared to regular instruction. According to Ms. Larson, “Peers are often more honest with each other about where they’re actually struggling.” Students who personally struggled with a subject often make exceptionally good tutors in that area. Peers often also provide different teaching styles, which can be beneficial to students struggling with a certain approach. The Peer Tutoring program continues to aid Western students every day, across subjects and grades.

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About the Contributor
Reid Keller, Staff Writer
Reid is a sophomore entering his first year of journalism. He is a noted Western tennis player, has a little brother named Timothy, and he enjoys working out.
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