80-strong organization provides virtual and one-on-one support
With nearly 80 tutors and more than 100 tutorial videos online, it's no surprise that Bullis Student Tutors (BST) is one of the strongest student-run organizations on campus. Tutors provide support every day, reaching out to students in all divisions and covering all topics, and their You Tube Channel reaches way beyond our Potomac campus.
"We've recently topped 18,000 views from 27 countries," says Aryemis Brown '17, BST's director of virtual tutoring. Videos run from three to five minutes and are screencasts created by BST tutors on a wide range of topics in math, social studies, language arts, writing, science and Spanish. Videos also address study skills and new uploads have included topics in economics and SAT/ACT tips.
Each tutor is required to create three screencasts, and each addresses a very specific topic: Trigonometric ratios, How to Make a Mug in Computer and Design and Covalent Bonds and Resonance Structure are but a few of the many available for browsing and support on the site. While quality is important and the tutors are always working to improve the sound and make the videos more engaging, their informal and relaxed nature—student narration and hand-written notations—is key to their success in relating to students and making topics approachable. "They're made from the student's point of view," explains Jason Eist, coordinator of learning support services and advisor for BST. "They provide tips and strategies that real students have used to succeed."
Many colleges offer student/peer tutoring but not many provide screencast videos, according to Mr. Eist. BST is also unique among independent schools in the scope of its peer tutoring program, and to showcase it Mr. Eist and Bullis Director of Technology Jamie Dickie presented the You Tube project at the well-known Florida Educational Technology Conference.
Working in the Academic Center, tutors are available for Upper School tutoring Monday, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons during extra instruction time. They also work with Middle Schoolers on Tuesday afternoons and with Lower Schoolers during Aftercare. In addition, a group of students spend their study hall times in Lower School classrooms assisting teachers and working with students during the school day.
To become a tutor, students must score highly on an assessment test and attend summer orientation and training. BST Director Carly Morgan '16 oversees a leadership team that manages all of the various tutoring programs and schedules. "Carly and her team run BST like a business," says Mr. Eist. Outgoing leaders select the next year's leaders, and along with managing the schedule and coordinating all programs the leaders develop the assessment and training systems. "Like Carly, many of our tutors share a general passion of learning and education and, if we're lucky, many might become future educators," says Mr. Eist. They are a joy to work with—competent, level-headed and committed."