High School Math Gets Easier

When a student comes home frustrated or confused about their math homework, they might not have resources to turn to for help. Seattle MESA is working to change that, providing trained tutors at three area high schools. Working with teachers and administrators, Seattle MESA is able to provide free, small-group or one-on-one tutoring. High school students can attend tutoring sessions on their own, or teachers can make referrals for students to get help from a tutor.

The MESA Tutoring Program uses University of Washington undergraduate and graduate students, all of whom have passed a math competency test. As part of their training, tutors conduct classroom observations, which not only helps them become familiar with the topics being covered, but also keeps them abreast with how learning standards have changed since their own high school experience. All of this they bring with them to help students at Mariner, Ingraham, and Chief Sealth High Schools.

Currently we have 17 tutors and two Lead Tutors who coordinate the tutoring activities on-site. Lead Tutors communicate with school officials to figure out who needs assistance. They then match tutors up with students. Students who show up for tutoring multiple times have the opportunity to continue working with their tutor, so that they can develop a strong relationship.

Schools can take advantage of MESA tutors in a number of ways. Tutors can provide in-class support for teachers. Or, they can hold after-school sessions, where students can drop in on their own. Whatever the method, Seattle MESA tutors find the experience most rewarding when students come to the program discouraged, but leave more confident and ready to tackle new challenges.

In the future, Seattle MESA plans to expand the tutoring to cover other science classes, and is looking to work in more schools. Recruitment efforts for students in need of tutoring will also extend beyond the school, to bring information about tutoring to local organizations, churches, and community centers. We are also recruiting tutors! Any interested UW students are encouraged to visit Take Action, to find out how to enroll in the tutoring courses. You can also contact Joffrey at mtutoruw@uw.edu