I’d like to use the opportunity of my first blog post to highlight some of the exciting accomplishments of Boost! Tutoring over the past few months. Upon reaching out to the Blue Mountain Union School in Wells River, VT and the Ohrenberger School in West Roxbury, MA, we found that teachers were eager to give their students access to as much personalized instruction as possible. Somewhat surprisingly, when given the chance to take an active role in their education, the students were just as excited, if not more so, about the chance to work with a tutor one-on-one.
Our pilot program with the Blue Mountain Union School of Wells River, VT went off without a hitch and we look forward to continuing our partnership in the fall. The program provided us with a promising proof of concept. Beginning with the very first tutoring session, students of Blue Mountain Union were raving about their one-on-one online tutoring sessions, pestering their teacher about when they would get to work with their new tutors again. Through this personal connection, students were able to take charge of their own education – and with impressive results. After their semester of tutoring, all four students showed greater improvement in standardized test scores than the class average. Two of the students involved even had test scores higher than the class average for the first time ever. We feel that the jump in test scores as well as the noticeable increase in student engagement, while qualitative in nature, help to validate Boost!’s model.
The partnership with the Ohrenberger School, while successful, had a few shortcomings. While there was great interest among both teachers and students to initiate the partnership, the school did not have sufficient bandwidth to support such a large group of students tutoring at the same time. In response, we increased the ratio of students to tutors from 1:1 to 4:1. While still productive, it was clear that the students were not receiving the full benefits of personal instruction that Boost! aims to provide. We are working closely with the Ohrenberger School to find a solution, and we hope to be fully up and running this Fall.
As for this summer, the Boost! team is working to streamline the user interface to make tutor-to-student interaction as intuitive as possible, as well as looking for partnerships with more schools. In order to do this, we will be kicking off a fundraising campaign. More on that to follow.
- Tucker Hopkins