Beginning last week, the CNMI Public School System has held trainings for 230 high school students to be tutors for what PSS calls “High-Dosage Tutoring Program” that will take place over the summer.
Under this program, high school students and a number of adult tutors will spend this summer and the next school year tutoring small groups of elementary students and will be paid $10 an hour for their work.
Amy Bohman-Blanco, a PSS educator who hopes to rebuild the community through “high-dosage” tutoring, is leading the trainings and program itself. She said the first two days of the training last week were dedicated to presentations on how the program will work overall, and the next three days were dedicated to learning additional information on their future assignments, either through online sessions or sessions at the elementary schools themselves. For this week, five days of educational training sessions will be held at the Marianas High School cafeteria, where the 230 student-tutors will learn the details of what they will be teaching elementary students and how to work with these students.
According to Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred Ada, all 230 student-tutors have at least a 3.0 grade point average and will each be assigned two to three elementary students and an elementary school. Ada said the main intention of the program is to boost system-wider reading and math scores and “help mitigate learning loss.” PSS noted either stagnation or decline in standardized test scores in recent years due to the effects of Super Typhoon Yutu, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the sudden transition to online learning because of the pandemic.
Bohman-Blanco has high hopes for the tutoring program and says the experience will prove useful for these students’ careers. “We’re learning a lot in the process of getting the program started. …It’s rewarding to see high-school students enjoying the process and getting [early] work experience,” said Bohman-Blanco.
When asked about the future of the High-Dosage Tutoring Program, she said, “We’re going to look at the data and see if we should continue.” The program will begin sometime after training concludes, and will run for five weeks. The tutoring program will then start again for the duration of the next school year, and come year-end, Bohman-Blanco will assess the effectiveness of the program.
The funding for the tutoring program comes from the U.S. government’s Education Stabilization Fund. Ada signed a certification and agreement that PSS will accept this funding on May 8, 2020.