New online tutoring program offers students 24-hour help.

October 26, 2022

New online tutoring program offers students 24-hour help.

Pirate News is a presentation of Hart Public Schools in partnership with Oceana County Press. 

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

HART —Hart Public Schools recently launched an online tutoring program paid for with federal COVID relief funds that helps students 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Paper program offers academic tutoring in all subjects for fifth through 12th grade students, providing much-needed bilingual support for the district’s large Hispanic population.

“It allows them to get help from a certified teacher 24 hours a day, seven days a week and they can get that help in English or Spanish,” said Superintendent Mark Platt. Half of the district’s student population is Hispanic.

“They don’t give the student the answers, but they help the students get to the answers,” Platt said of the chat-based program. “They will even proofread the rough draft of your paper.”

Not only is the program helpful for students, but it also gives the teachers some relief.

“A lot of municipalities and schools received money as a result of the pandemic,” he said. The tutoring program was purchased with money through ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief). “It’s not coming out of the general fund at all.

“Twenty percent of that money is earmarked for student achievement. We are spending way more than 20 percent of our ESSER funds on student achievement, but this is one of the primary products we are purchasing with ESSER funds. The district is spending about $150,000 of its ESSER dollars on a three-year subscription.”

Platt said he was immediately impressed with the program. After consulting with the district’s technology experts, Jason Gale and Phil DeBrot, his confidence in the program was solidified. 

The program is designed to help “a student who’s maybe too shy to raise their hand”; a bilingual student struggling with the language barrier; or an athlete overburdened with a busy week of practices and games.

“These are things our students go through every single day.”

Students can use the program not only with their district-supplied Chromebooks, but also with their personal cell phones. However, they have to log in through their school email account. 

Hart is one of two districts in the state to use the program. Hemlock Public Schools — a rural district similar to Hart — has used Paper since last year, he said.

Paper will provide data to the district to show how often the program is being used. “In order for us to renew this three years down the road, you want to know it was being utilized well the first three years.” Data will show what subjects are being tutored the most; what time of day the program is used most often; and other insights.

Safety measures are in place so that if a student types something concerning, the tutor can contact the school directly. Parents who have questions can contact student success coordinators in each building.

Paper works in conjunction with the district’s learning management system that houses curriculum and lesson plans. Tutors can review the criteria for particular classroom assignments. 

“It’s probably the number one thing I’ve seen in my career that I’ve had a hand in purchasing that is a direct consumer benefit. If a student doesn’t use this, they are missing the boat. We don’t want to increase their screen time, but we want to make it more beneficial.”

For more information about the Paper program, visit https://pages.paper.co/the-parent-guardian-guide-to-implementing-paper?fbclid=IwAR29qmcU8zHIcvCPsCRkve7bU7exirDKlH9T0d-XzIIupFIC7nNUTGU9Qm4

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