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SFPS’ Equity, Diversity and Engagement Department launched its Near Peer Tutoring Program at the end of February to train 25 high school students as paid reading and math tutors for elementary school students.

“Through the Near Peer program, high school students will share in the success of younger students in what we see as a new approach to tutoring and career building.  There are so many benefits from this program:  younger students will gain mentors who will provide insight on ways to learn and high school students will gain leadership skills while exploring the promising field of education,” said Superintendent Hilario “Larry” Chavez.  “A key goal of this program is to provide high school students with access to paid work-based learning opportunities, which we believe will develop a cohesive student-to-teacher pipeline.  It’s a win-win for everyone,” he said.

High school students ages 13-18 will be paid $14 per hour to tutor younger students in reading and math at three elementary schools: Nava Elementary School, Nina Otero Community School and Ramirez Thomas Elementary School.  Two more schools will be added this semester. 

Participating student tutors will come from SFPS’ high schools:  Santa Fe High School, Capital High School, Early College Opportunities (ECO) High School, Mandela International Magnet School and Desert Sage Academy.  

“As this rolls out, we expect the student tutors to support around 60 students.  Our plan is to further student proficiency while increasing each tutor’s skill set and building excitement around the teaching profession, with the hope that the program will grow next year,” said Sabra Romero, SFPS’ volunteer and event coordinator, who is overseeing the program.  All student tutors will receive training and experiences in real-world settings, she said.

The student tutors will work alongside school staff and four paid adult tutor-facilitators who are college students or established participants of SFPS’ tutoring community, with tutoring occurring at school sites twice weekly, before or after school.  Seven to 15 students at each site will receive help with math, reading and general support. 

All student tutors and tutor-facilitators will receive a full week of training prior to starting at their school sites, with trainings continuing weekly.

Training topics, facilitated by SFPS staff experts and a variety of community partners, such as Reading Quest, Resolve and Big Brothers Big Sisters, include Helping Students Through Difficult Situations, Using SFPS Newcomers Kits, Working with English Learners and instruction on how to tutor reading and math.

SFPS received $498,180 in American Rescue Plan Act funding for the Near Peer program from the New Mexico Public Education Department.  SFPS’ funding is earmarked to support programming through the fall semester of 2022.