Students teaching: Cinnaminson high schoolers tutor younger kids in district

If there were ever a “faith in humanity restored” moment that came from COVID-19,  it came this past summer when Cinnaminson High School senior and National Honor Society member Matthew Blair finished a reopening plan committee and took other student’s learning habits into his own hands.

Considering the long layoff from in-person learning, Blair believed it would be beneficial for NHS kids to tutor the middle- and elementary- school children through online means.

“I was on the beach,” English teacher and NHS co-advisor Kate Laskowski said with a laugh of her initial reaction.

“I love the idea; it’s awesome,” she added. “He’s brilliant; he has a mind for stuff like this,”

From there, Laskowski and co-advisor Riley Gartland did their due diligence in reaching out to district principals and guidance counselors to finalize the logistics of online tutoring for all students in the district.

The rest, as they say, is history. Twelve times a week, NHS students log in and give back to the students in the district, tutoring in anything from geometry to reading comprehension to earth science and everything in between.

“It’s so beneficial for them, even if they’re just seniors who are in Pre-Calc and revisiting Algebra II, it’s good for them; it builds their confidence.” Laskowski noted.  “It takes a lot of stress off the tutees as well because it’s not an adult-adult: It’s like a peer or someone a little older helping you,”

Gartland, a math teacher, thinks the tutoring is a great opportunity for the parents, too.

“The parents need a little assistance,” she said. “They need some type of outlet that isn’t making them sit at the dinner table and do math with them. The fact that they can reach out to someone else to kind of say, ‘Here’s a half-hour, do what you can,’ is something that takes it off their plate.”

Either Gartland or Laskowski is present for all tutoring sessions, which should give parents some peace of mind that their children are not only being taught by Cinnaminson’s finest students, but the advisors of said students.

One of the tutors, NHS president Gianna Pappas, thinks the program is much needed due to her connections in the community.

“I tutored in the past, so the parents I babysat for were reaching out and it was obvious they needed help,” Pappas explained. “It worked out perfectly because I knew a lot of parents were going to want to participate in it and a lot of kids need it.

“I was glad to hear we could do it through NHS; it would be so helpful to so many families in Cinnaminson,”

The tutoring program is free and available to all families in the Cinnaminson district. For more information and to sign up for a session, reach out to Laskowski via email at LaskowskiK@Cinnaminson.com

“For NHS, our whole thing is service and giving back to the community,” Pappas said. “It fits well with everything we go by. It’s the perfect opportunity for us to step in and do something differently.”