Last year, 340 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students took the Algebra 1 End of Course (EOC) Exam. The official Florida State Assessments Report results show that over one third of the students who took the exam failed. This test, along with numerous other EOCs, are mandatory graduation requirements.
When Behavior Specialist Anna Koltunova saw these statistics, she decided to step in and establish not one, but two in-school tutoring resources: the math lab, which had been previously active at MSD, and the genius bar.
Students will be able to identify themselves if they are struggling in math, which enables them to access the math lab, where teachers will give extra lessons and help. Students who attend sessions at the genius bar will be tutored by high performing peers.
“The genius bar is going to be students identified as very high performing in Algebra I and Geometry, specifically how they performed on the EOC and other factors that we’re going to consider as a department. The department is going to vet the students that we’re identifying through those scores. Those students are going to be offered the opportunity to be part of a peer tutoring program,” Koltunova said.
The genius bar focuses on interactivity. Students will be able to make appointments directly with their peer tutor to receive one-on-one attention.
The program can be beneficial for both the tutor and tutorer.
“It’s really helpful for the geniuses because they’re developing their communication skills; they’re mentoring another student, and they’re going to be getting community service hours at some point, so a lot of benefits for the genius as well as the kid that’s getting the additional help,” Koltunova said.
Students received a letter in their personalization class from Koltunova which explained the details of the program and invited them to participate.
“[It said] I was invited to attend the meeting and my scores in Algebra and Geometry were high enough so I could tutor other students who needed help. They were talking about what it was and why we should help other students, ”sophomore Lybah Haque said.
Success of the program will be based off statistics, specifically attendance.
“They’re gonna meet each other in the media center, and there’s a special tracking system to make sure that they’re getting there and that they’re checking in for appointments, so later I can run a report on who’s showing up and who’s not showing up to the genius bar.” said Koltunova.
Around 100 students attended the interest meeting for the genius bar in the auditorium on Tuesday, Oct. 8.
“ It was a good idea, especially for kids who can’t stay after school to get tutoring,” sophomore Sarah Kathuria said. It was also good for me that I don’t have to stay after school, because there’s already a bunch of after school activities. I can expand my skills by teaching them, and they can expand their skills.”
Koltunova plans to have the program up and running by the end of October.