Mountain Pointe takes math tutoring online - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Community Focus

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Mountain Pointe takes math tutoring online

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Posted: Tuesday, August 23, 2011 2:00 pm

A new tutoring program at Mountain Pointe High School allows students to receive online help from their peers in just about every math class offered at the school.

The program, called Study Buddy and created by the National Science and Technology Education Partnership, randomly pairs students who need help with tutors from across the country.

Students will log onto the website, indicate what class they need help with and wait a short time for a tutor to become available.

"Kids don't always have the opportunity for before- or after-school tutoring and through this program they can get the help when they need it," said Mountain Pointe math teacher Stephen Heiser, who helped bring the program to the school. "We are taking the help to the kids on something they are already doing (the Internet). They are on Facebook and the Internet, so this is tutoring in a way they can relate to."

Mountain Pointe students participated for the first time last year in the program and had 1,100 kids take part. Forty of those students, about 10 percent of the tutors nationwide, were tutors who logged at least 10 hours helping other kids around the country.

Because of their heavy involvement, Mountain Pointe students received a grant to attend a nationwide math competition in July.

The grant was given by the mathematics honors society Mu Alpha Theta and paid for the students trip, room and board and more.

The Mountain Pointe tutors were all part of Mu Alpha Theta, which requires at least 10 hours of community service.

Senior John Delgado-McCollum placed 12th in the nation in the calculus portion of the competition. He said he logged more than 50 hours of tutoring last year.

"The kids listen to what you have to say because they are there because they want to be," he said. "I don't do it because I have to, I genuinely enjoy it."

A tutoring session can last 20 minutes or two hours, he said. They communicate over microphone and can use a stylus to draw the problem out.

"There is a mutual benefit for both," said Delgado-McCollum, who won tutor of the month for May 2011. "As a tutor, you're solidifying what you already know and as the (student), you are building your skills in math."

The program will be starting up in the next week or so, Heiser said, and he expects the same amount or even more students to participate this year.

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