Middle School News
by Aryemis Brown '17
"I love to see that 'a-ha' moment in the students we tutor; it is fulfilling to know I helped create it," said Sophie McIntyre '18, a member of Bullis' peer tutoring program.
Nine years ago, Upper School Coordinator of Learning Support Services Jason Eist created a student tutoring organization to put students at the forefront of their education. "Students learn most through authentic experiences," he says. "Our students' capacity to change the world should never be underestimated."
Fueled by this vision, Bullis Student Tutors (BST) remains a student-run organization that works with students in grades 2 – 12 in all core academic subjects. BST operates on weekdays during extra instruction and enrichment periods; two years ago, BST also moved into Lower School classrooms during school hours. Today, Bullis Student Tutors has grown to be the largest student organization on campus with over 80 student tutors and a network of 60,000 virtual learners who access the program's vast You Tube library of help-videos in a wide array of subjects.
Students qualify to be a student tutor by achieving a cumulative average of 90% or above in their subject of expertise. Additionally, over the summer student tutors participate in a rigorous orientation process and pass a subsequent examination. The orientation consists of discussions about professionalism, learning, teaching, the apparatus of BST and the biology of the brain.
Part of being a great teacher is understanding the biology of teaching and finding the pedagogy of a life-long learner. Throughout the year, student tutors reinforce their knowledge of tutoring by participating in a series of professional development opportunities, including watching webcasts, reading informational articles and meeting with learning professionals.
Each section of BST–Lower School, Middle School, Upper School and virtual tutoring – experienced considerable success this year. In the Lower School, Camille Helmig '17, BST's Director of Lower School Tutoring, reported the largest enrollment of Lower School students in the program's history. The Middle School team introduced an inaugural Middle School exam review session in the fall. According to Sarah Blair '17, BST's Director of Middle School Tutoring, "by pairing our Middle School students with Upper School tutors, we're not only helping them get their work done and teaching them valuable study skills, we are helping them to step out of their comfort zones and make connections with their older peers."
Similarly, the Upper School department partnered with the Upper School Learning Support Team to introduce a new specialized tutoring program. The program pairs student tutors with Upper School students to manage specific curricular challenges, such as organizational skills or an academic subject. Since last year, BST's Virtual Tutoring Department continued efforts to promote their YouTube channel, increasing viewership to 62,000 lifetime views in 127 countries.
In the midst of their success, Bullis Student Tutors shared its work with educators around the world. In 2016, student tutor Alec Samuels '17 and BST Coordinator Mr. Jason Eist presented at the EdCamp Technology Conference (2016).This summer, members of Bullis Student Tutors plan to present at the Building Learning Communities Conference in Boston. Reflecting the strength of the program, independent schools in the Washington, D.C. area have visited and contacted Bullis School about the intricate and successful design of BST.
A student tutor is the perfect reflection of a great Bullis community member–a caring student who is willing to challenge him or herself in the art of teaching. With each passing year since the program's conception, Bullis Student Tutors continues to grow and achieve new milestones. The future is bright with the amazing work of our student tutors.