Paper Online Tutoring
Something new is about to stir academic success for many Washington Community High School District 308 students as they begin the 2022-23 school year this fall!
It’s a 24-7 academic support system that partners with schools to provide unlimited access to trained tutors via virtual technology. It allows students to instantly access specialized tutors in any subject, on any device, at any time.
Excited educators at WCHS are launching the innovative program to enhance personalized instruction for students and to resolve time-management challenges for teachers.
Every student has unique needs involving their learning styles, motivations, aptitudes, academic strategies and personal goals. The program, named Paper, was created by an online tutorial company whose mission is “to deliver educational equity through personalized learning.”
Tutors are trained in socratic questioning methods to help lead students to solving their own questions.
Holly Davis, WCHS associate principal, said the district is excited to partner with Paper.
“Students will know for sure they have somewhere to go outside of school hours for support,” Davis said.
The administrator explained the program also will offer extra assistance for students who are assigned to in-school suspension (CARE) as well as students who are absent from school.
“Paper provides students with highly individualized support when a teacher is not there,” Davis said.
The program serves the entire school curriculum.
“One way the English Department is excited to implement Paper is as a tool for students to receive initial feedback on writing assignments and essays,” Jennifer Reiser, English department chair, said. “Students will be able to submit a rubric along with their essay and receive comments and suggestions from the tutors in less than 24 hours.
“That supplementary critique not only will inspire students with additional perspectives, it also will allow our classroom teachers additional time for creating exemplary lessons.”
Reiser said that WCHS English teachers still will be providing the final assessment of writing assignments, but the additional proofreading and feedback by tutors will be a “tremendous support for our students.”
“We always encourage students to have multiple eyes read their paper before submitting it to the teacher, whether it is a parent, sibling, friend or someone else. The more feedback one receives, the better,” Reiser said.
All WCHS staff members will begin training for the new Paper tutoring system during the Aug. 10 teacher institute, two days before students return to the classroom.
Interactions using Paper are recorded by the company for transparency to the school district.
In addition to the new Paper program an English Lab will continue to remediate students who have failed their English 1, English 2 or Speech courses.
“The creation of an English Lab is something our department has been working on for a number of years,” Reiser said. “The Lab’s curriculum is designed to help bridge the gaps of struggling readers and writers and prepare them for their next English course while recovering English credit from a course they previously failed.”
Reiser said the long-term goal is for English Lab to eventually enroll fewer “credit recovery” students, thereby providing opportunities for more learners who need a little extra English skill support.
“We hope that once we have moved past the detrimental impact of the Covid Pandemic – which caused school shutdowns and implementation of virtual, at-home instruction alternatives, – the Lab will transition into a course that offers additional support for struggling learners.”
English Lab will be staffed by an English teacher each hour of the day. Students will be placed in the lab based on teacher and counselor recommendation.
The Math Lab and Study Lab are not new resources but have moved locations. Math Lab is now located in the Upper Library South, next door to the English Lab in the Upper Library North. Study Lab has moved to the North part of the WCHS main-floor library.
Math lab is for any student who struggles in Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II.
“As math teachers we identify those students who would benefit from Math Lab, and we try to get them into an hour for extra help,” Beth Cassulo, math department chair, said.
Cassulo said students are placed in Math Lab for either of two reasons: 1) remediation for those students who are working on credit recovery and will do math the whole hour; or 2) extra help for students placed into math lab instead of a study hall for extra focus on math.
Math Lab is staffed by math teachers throughout the school day.
Peer tutors are available every hour in the Study Lab to help students with assignments, prepare them for tests and offer organization and study strategies.