This year, 61 of the 428 seniors at Tupelo High lack a passing grade in at least one of the required for graduation tests: algebra, English II, English II writing, U.S. history, biology and mathematics. A core group of retired former THS teachers, current assistant principals and Principal Jason Harris are directly involved in tutoring sessions offered throughout the school day individually and in small groups.
Students lacking the necessary required passing scores can attend tutoring sessions at various times during the school day, and those who are behind and still enrolled are required to make the effort.
Last school year, at the same point in the school year, 112 seniors were in the need-to-pass situation, and all but 14 of them graduated.
The linchpin is willingness from two directions – on the part of students who hang in rather than dropping out, and by the school, which places the resources and personnel on the problem with confidentiality – and daily persistence.
Tutoring students who need help at one time may have carried a stigma, but that negative perception is fast disappearing because the advantages of good tutoring sustain the best history and traditions of the practice.
The blog “Great Schools” editor Jessica Kelmon reported in January, from an article in The New York Times, that “a new hallmark of Gen Z (aka “Gen Me”) that I think is going to stick: tutors as a mainstay of a normal education. When I was in school, I had a tutor to help me learn French – but only because it wasn’t offered at my school and we were moving to Montreal. Otherwise, tutoring wasn’t a common affair. When a kid was failing – or at least falling behind – that’s when tutors were called to the rescue.”
Further, the blog suggests that success with a tutor will encourage students to continue using them past immediate situations, which could increase the likelihood of academic success.
Tutoring is not a magic bullet, but trying it is preferable to giving up in abject failure.