New Student Connection Program: Seeking HS Volunteers to Become Tutors/Mentors
Dylan Schade, a junior at Mount Si High School and member of the school’s Key Club, is working to establish a new chapter of the Student Connection Tutoring Program in the Snoqualmie Valley. Student Connections is a program that helps train high school volunteers how to be effective tutors and motivating mentors, and then connects them to students who need extra academic support, in a safe environment. The purpose is to offer free tutoring to low-income students throughout King County, Washington, to help ensure all students get support they may need to succeed.
Schade explained that he first became interested in volunteering as a tutor to gain extra community service experience. However, after hearing the founder of the Student Connection Program (a student from Skyline HS) speak at a Key Club meeting, Dylan felt compelled to help initiate a student-led chapter at Mount Si High School. Now, he would like to encourage more students to volunteer to become tutors.
According to Schade, the greatest benefit of this experience comes from the personal satisfaction of helping others. “I get a real sense of fulfillment helping other students, especially when I’m able to help them work through a problem and figure it out on their own. It also helps me socialize more, during these strange times, as I need to put myself out there to help engage and motivate the student I’m helping. I find that the positive feeling I get after a tutoring session, sticks with me through the entire day.”
Dylan Schade, junior, is starting a new MSHS chapter of the Student Connection tutoring program.
High school students interested in volunteering: Consider becoming a tutor and see how you could change a child’s life! This program helps students who are less likely to have academic support at home. Training is provided on how to teach effectively and become a positive role model. The time commitment involves connecting once a week for at least an hour, with a student you will be matched with for the year. Students at Mount Si High School, Two Rivers High School or the Parent Partnership Program are invited to apply to be a part of this rewarding experience.
To be eligible to become a Student Connection tutor, volunteers must be in grades 9-12, and academically strong (however, there is no GPA eligibility). The process involves an application and interview, and if selected, training will be provided. Then each tutor is matched with a student whom they will continue to work with, throughout the year to build a connection. (In some cases, they may decide together to schedule more than one session each week.)
Currently, there are eight students from Mount Si High School who have been trained to be tutors, as a few others applications in process. This year, the new MSHS Student Connection program is supporting students virtually through video conferencing sessions. Next year, Dylan’s goal is to create a club at Mount Si High School focused on serving students in our community, with more opportunities for the tutor group to collaborate and share ideas that are working well.
Is your family in need of a free student tutor?From preschool through high school, help is available for students of all ages, grade levels and subjects, including assistance with college admission applications/exams. In addition to academic support, the regularly scheduled tutoring sessions and personal connection with a student tutor, can add an element of accountability that helps motivate students.
Student Connection began in 2019 when three students from Skyline High School in Sammamish, Washington realized there was an abundance of students at their school seeking to volunteer and many students in their community who could not afford tutors. They recruited a handful of their classmates and began tutoring weekly at a nearby low-income after school care program. Within weeks, the students noticed an impact greater than they expected. The kids they tutored began to give up less easily, finish their homework on time, and develop mentorship relationships with their tutors.
After seeing their impact, they knew they needed to expand. With the help of community partners, including the Renton and Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce, they turned their small-scale tutoring operation into a non-profit aimed at replicating their first program in communities across King County. They help create student-led chapters at different high schools and connecting each one with a low-income after school care program nearby. They have built a legal and operational foundation to make sure tutoring is safe, effective, and organized, and now work to grow new chapters in new communities. With the help of donors, chapter founders, volunteer tutors, and their team, they hope to level the educational playing field in King County and make sure no student has to face school on their own.