Library amending academic center

With new head of the academic center, changes being made in tutoring system

Senior Ryan Chen helps a tutee in various subjects including math and history.

Senior Ryan Chen helps a tutee in various subjects including math and history.

Upon the beginning of the new school year, new Academic Center Specialist Alessandro Stavoli altered the tutoring system in Homestead’s academic center. The academic center exists at the back of the library and it is where students can receive assistance  with their academics from student tutors.

The academic center has long been headed by Jessica Kirby, but this year, Stavoli, previous physical therapist, took over the role.

Kirby’s previous tutoring system was based off one-on-one methods, in which student tutors could tutor anyone in their area of expertise.

Kirby said she wanted to break the culture barrier that tutors had to have straight A’s and get perfect grades.
“That was something I was really working on, that anybody could be a tutor,” Kirby said.

Stavoli said the previous tutoring system proved to be ineffective in raising students’ grades, as tutees showed no measurable improvement in their classes.

In an effort to improve the academic center, Stavoli incorporated a group-oriented tutoring system instead of the previous one-on-one system.

Stavoli said that in this revamped system, tutors are organized into groups consisting of three tutors, each with a different role: charter, summarizer and note-taker.

The charter is the leader of the group, acting as the main tutor who relays information to the tutees. On the other hand, the summarizer condenses the information while the note-taker reminds the tutees to take notes during the session.

I think it’s a much more organized [system], it has objectives, it actually has direction.

— Alessandro Stavoli

Stavoli said that he strives to “interest people more… make it more personalized for the students that need help… and also to give a more goal-oriented approach to the tutors.”

“The school does a lot of effort to do interventions with students, not just academically but also emotionally,” Stavoli said.

The effectiveness of Stavoli’s changes has raised several questions among students, tutors in particular.

“Some of the tutors wonder how effective the new system will be in helping the tutees,” academic tutor Ryan Chen said. “But it looks like a lot of the tutors there are serious and I think it’s helping students.”

“I think it’s a much more organized [system], it has objectives, it actually has direction,” Stavoli said. “There are going to be things modified along the way but I think the system is going to be effective because it gives students the space to learn and apply their own style.”

Since it is still early in the school year and the academic center is just beginning to gain momentum, only time can evaluate if the new academic center system truly is effective, Stavoli said.

Stavoli encourages more students to visit the academic center for any academic questions and hopes that tutors will have the curiosity and patience to learn how to teach others as the year progresses.

Stavoli emphasizes that Homestead continues to make an effort to provide academic help to its students, hoping that students will take the first step into the academic center towards a brighter future.

“Bringing people in is the most difficult part… it’s a big step,” Stavoli said.