CLASS ACT: Murphysboro Peer Tutoring Program

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By Evie Allen

MURPHYSBORO -- Often times, deep social barriers exist between upperclassmen and underclassmen. But Murphysboro High School has found a way to break some of those barriers and create a better atmosphere assisting those who need the most help.

"We're just kind of a bunch of seniors here just helping out freshman with their school work," explains senior tutor Kyle Miller.

Social Studies teacher Stephanie Finke says high school can be overwhelming for most freshmen.

"Some of the issues they were having were homework completion, understanding their homework, and just the variety of classes in a day," says Finke.

The seniors tutor in math, English and science. They also help with any homework the freshmen have.

"They're learning new ways to solve problems. That helps them figure them out on their own so they can do it when they get home," says Miller.

Freshman Dionisio Thomas has been in the program for two months.
His tutor holds him accountable through social networking.

"She facebooks me and tells me to do my homework, and I guess I do it," says Thomas.

The relationship doesn't end there, the program also creates friendships. Tutor Briana Chambers says it's those friendships that make high school a lot easier for incoming students.

"With freshman who don't really know anybody, having a tutor who they actually see every day, it'll help them feel comfortable walking in the hallway and actually knowing somebody," says Chambers.

That rings true for Thomas.

"It lets me know that I'm not alone, and I can depend on somebody to help with high school," says Thomas

Coordinator Diane Gearhart says parents have noticed a positive change in their students.

"And peers have called in as well and told the teachers, this is working, I can see a change," said Gearhart.

The program has only been running since October, but the high school plans to continue the program next year.
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