ARISTA’s new Executive Council started the new year by re-evaluating and subsequently overhauling the organization’s traditional tutoring efforts. Due to difficulties arising from paring tutors with students in need of help ARISTA Tutoring has become disorganized in recent years. The council determined that the Walk-In Tutoring program was particularly ineffective, and replaced it with a new Peer Tutoring system managed online. The Stuyvesant Walk-In Tutoring system, which was implemented in previous years by ARISTA, offered students in need of help with particular subjects the opportunity to find peer tutors during free periods behind the Murray Kahn Theater.
When the Walk-In Tutoring system was in effect, ARISTA members signed up to tutor during a lunch or free period for the duration of a week. In principle, during periods four to eight, five ARISTA members were to station themselves behind the theater for students who wanted help with their schoolwork. However, according to ARISTA President Miranda Li, there were more problems than benefits with this system. While ARISTA members were easily able to fulfill their tutoring credits and Stuyvesant students had the option of going to Walk-In Tutoring if they needed last-minute help, an increasing number of tutors were signing in for their shift but not staying to help out the entire time. “It was a way for members to get credits without doing much, and we wanted to change that,” Li said.
Furthermore, due to lack of outreach and its obscure location, many students did not take advantage of the Walk-In Tutoring program. “From what I saw last year, occasionally one or two students would come in for tutoring, but that was it,” ARISTA Tutoring Vice President Keo Chau said. With the lack of tutors that stayed through the entirety of the period and the lack of students who utilized the program, ARISTA’s Executive Council decided to end Walk-In-Tutoring and start over.
Under their new Peer Tutoring system, students can now sign up on the new ARISTA website to request a tutor for their desired subject areas. Afterwards, ARISTA members can see the subject and time availability information, that the students filled out online, when they log in to the website. Members then email the ARISTA tutoring committee to be paired up. According to Chau, the tutoring committee receives approximately five tutor requests every day.
“The online tutor pairing system is a major improvement from last year’s Walk-In Tutoring,” sophomore Caroline Kim said. “Recently, I sent in a request for a math tutor and was promptly assigned one within the hour. This type of efficiency really allows me to place confidence not only in the tutors I will work with, but also in ARISTA as a whole.”
While the new website and tutor-tutee pairing system is an improvement from the previous Walk-In Tutoring system, there still exist minor issues and areas for improvement. “Last year, the process of assigning tutors was rather complicated due to the use of spreadsheets instead of an efficient website like the one we are currently using,” junior and ARISTA Tutoring Committee member Katherine Oh said. “However, because many of the ARISTA members are enthusiastic about tutoring peers, multiple tutors will often sign up for the same tutee and it has become very difficult to choose the best tutor for a particular student.”
Additionally, ARISTA members have had trouble attaining the required amount of tutoring credits under the new system. Previously, many members were not actually tutoring anybody, but they were able to satisfy their requirement because so many Walk-In-Tutoring spots were available each week. Now that the Executive Council has eliminated the program and tightened regulations, members must actually spend time tutoring students in order to satisfy the requirement. “We can see that many [ARISTA members] are more willing to do peer tutoring as a result of the elimination of Walk-In Tutoring,” senior and ARISTA Tutoring Committee member Chrystal Lee said.
Although the previous Walk-In Tutoring system during the school day is now gone, there are many other alternatives for students to receive help along in addition to the Peer Tutoring system. Afterschool Walk-In Tutoring is available on Mondays through Thursdays, from 3:40 pm to 4:40 pm. Tutors will be selected based on their grades and the rigor of their classes, which will help ensure that students in search of a tutor will find a well-qualified and capable one. AIS Tutoring is also available after school, and study sheets for various subjects have been submitted and posted on ARISTA’s official website.
Despite concerns about the new tutoring system, Li believes the Executive Council has established a good foundation to work off of for the future. “What we have done so far is to change what hasn’t been working: we have revamped the tutoring program and increased the number of events,” Li said. “Now that our system for the upcoming year is basically set up, we will look to expanding ARISTA, not only for our year, but for many years to come.”