Students share expertise with peers

Student tutors work with peers in the tutoring space on the East Etowah High School campus.
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Student tutors work with peers in the tutoring space on the East Etowah High School campus.

Etowah High students who are stumped by math, having a hard time with history or struggling with science can look no farther than their peers for some extra help. The Woodstock school is one of six in Georgia and the first in Cherokee County to have a student-run tutoring center that covers every academic subject.

Launched in 2016 as a writing center, the concept morphed in 2018 into the Etowah East WING Tutoring Center and expanded to include all course content. WING, or Where I Need to Go, is staffed by about 150 student directors have been trained to work with their peers during lunch periods, and before and after school.

“The training goes over emotional intelligence, introduces different scenarios and talks about how to handle them,” said senior Devyn Hall, who has been on the team for three years and tutors biology, English, AP history and AP language arts writing. “I do it because I know there are people who don’t know what’s going on in class – I know how much I hate that myself. I want to help others avoid that feeling of being lost.”

Depending on the subject, the face-to-face sessions can last from 15 to 45 minutes, or even longer if need be. An online scheduling system helps students book appointments.

“We can sometimes also do walk-ins,” said senior Chris Haswell. “We will do our best to find a tutor immediately.”

The response from the student body has been positive, said Hall, who added that many of her tutoring sessions often end the same way.

“A lot of times, students will just look at me and say, ‘Thank you so much. I really needed this,’” she said. “For the most part, students know this is a place where they can feel comfortable and be tutored by a student who was in the same position they’re in.”

English/language arts and science are in the most demand. And this year the center has started offering the school’s 2,500 students SAT and ACT prep sessions, led by tutors who have scored well on those exams. Tutors hope the new courses will increase the number of people seeking support.

“In 2018, we had 4,315 appointments; in 2019, it was 4,309,” said senior Emily Collins, a tutor for AP environmental science, AP world history and U.S. history. “So far this year, we’ve already had 1,500. Our goal is to have 5,000 appointments.”

Tutors also aim to extend the WING concept and set up similar programs in other county high schools as well as feeder schools. In September, a peer tutoring center opened at Cherokee High.

“Our goal now is to expand centers like this to our other sister schools,” said senior Laurel O’Brien.

Information about Etowah High is online at cherokee12.net/etowahhs.


SEND US YOUR STORIES. Each week we look at programs, projects and successful endeavors at area schools, from pre-K to grad school. To suggest a story, contact H.M. Cauley at hm_cauley@yahoo.com or 770-744-3042.