San Marin’s second tutorial was held on October 23 and 24 and showed improvement from its first, but students and staff believe that changes still need to be made. The tutorial schedule, which is designed to help students meet with their teachers, work with others and complete missing assignments, takes place three times a semester before the end of each grading period.
The first tutorial, held on September 18 and 19, demonstrated the successes along with the imperfections within the system. A few days before the 18th, a packet was distributed to every student, designed to record which classes they attended during each tutorial period by signing in and out of their classes. Little communication between staff and students and unclear deadlines lead to many students not completing or turning in the packet.
During tutorial days, each period is evenly divided into an A and B block. The latest tutorial clarified miscommunications that occurred during the first. It established that students would remain in their home class during the A portion of the period, but with signed permission from both teachers, they could go to another class during the B portion.
Science teacher Jennifer Carlomagno explained how tutorial allowed her to talk individually with her students and help them catch up on work.
“[Tutorial has] been beneficial for those that are struggling in terms of getting an assignment done or need extra time for studying,” Carlomagno said.
Sophomore Lauren Houlahan believes that tutorial helped her and her busy afterschool
“I was able to get my homework done and not have to stress about it when I got home from my extracurriculars, which is usually around 8:00 p.m.,” Houlahan said, adding that she benefited from the extra class time she received to do her work.
Katherine Warren, who teaches beginning ELD, ERWC and Student Intervention, plans and troubleshoots the tutorial system with the help of the administration. She also analyzes the data from each tutorial session. After each tutorial, Warren checks to see if there is any improvement in the grades of D and F students.
“Every high performing high school in America has a support time for its students built into its schedule,” Warren said when asked what purpose tutorial serves. She plans to create a new website for future tutorials, which will list the activities each teacher has planned in their A and B class periods in order to aid students in planning their tutorial schedules.
Despite the improvements, the second tutorial also showed that alterations still need to be made. Many teachers considered tutorial not as critical for students with high grades or who are enrolled in AP courses. AP U.S. History and Government teacher Jason Obstarczyk believes that many advanced students do not benefit from the extra time.
“[I] have a broad range [of students] from AP to Special Education, how do you have one system that meets all of the different needs?” Obstarczyk said.