A practical guide for parents: Boost your student’s success with tutorials

Posted by Kristen Hernandez on 5/6/2019

It’s the final countdown: just a few weeks of school left, and students are facing a multitude of tests. STAAR tests, AP tests, and of course, finals. There’s also the pressure of keeping up GPA’s in their classes, finishing assignments and projects, and making test corrections.

How can students keep up in their classes and prepare for their exams?

Photo - Emily Delgado Teachers offer tutorials to help their students succeed. Mrs. Emily Delgado, Associate Principal of Curriculum and Instruction, offers insight on how students can get the most out of tutorials. Join us in our discussion of how to improve your student’s performance with tutorials.

Of course, students first need to know when tutorials are held. Mrs. Delgado explains that they are held at different times, before or after school. Every teacher is required to have at least 30 minutes a day, 4 times a week. Tutorial schedules can be found on the PHS website under the “STAFF” tab on the left side. You can click here for a direct link.

Mrs. Delgado notes how tutorials benefit students. “Teachers can give individual lesson instruction only to a certain level with a class of up to 30 students, so not all students can get the help they need. If they need more individualized attention, tutorials are the time to get that.”

What happens during tutorials? Teachers make themselves available during their scheduled tutorial times. Students can meet with the teachers and ask questions. “Every class is different: Some teachers have a more structured setting and guide it toward the students; others expect students to self-advocate and ask questions to get the help they need.”

How can students get the most out of tutorials? Mrs. Delgado suggests that students come prepared with questions and understand where they’re lost. “Teachers are happy if students just attend tutorials, but if they come prepared that’s even better.” What can parents do to help students prepare for tutorials? “Parents can help students think things through ahead of time. Ask: what happened? What don’t they understand? Walk them through the steps to help them see where they get lost, and that will help give them an idea of questions to ask.”

She emphasizes that students should not be afraid to reach out for help. “If a student is confused, they should tell the teacher. If they don’t understand, they should ask questions. Don’t waste time just sitting in the room and not getting help.”

A great help in students’ improving their grades is re-teach, re-test. How does that work? Mrs. Delgado explains: “If a student fails a test, district policy gives them the opportunity to take the test again after they have been given targeted instruction. Re-teach, re-test is available only in tutorials. In the tutorial, the teacher will review with the student the information that wasn’t understood, then they can come to another tutorial to retake the test after they have been retaught the information. If students take advantage of this, they shouldn’t have any failing quiz or test grades for their classes.”

What if my student’s teacher is not available for tutorials? “If teachers are not available at their posted times, please inform the grade-level Assistant Principal. Parents can keep an open communication with their student’s teachers. If their student needs help, they can call or email the teacher to let them know that the student will be attending tutorials. That way the teacher and student will both be prepared, and their time will be better spent during tutorials.”

PHS also has the PAW Center, which is student-led tutoring for all core subjects at all levels. If students need help with homework, exam corrections, essays, or if they have questions about their classes, they can come to the PAW Center. During the school year, regular hours are Monday - Thursday 8:00-8:55 am and 4:30-5:15 pm in the E215 Computer lab.

Please note: Since we are nearing the end of the school year and have limited staffing, the PAW Center has a different format for the last few weeks of school. During the weeks of May 5 (afternoons) and May 12 (mornings and afternoons), it is open for AP Café, which is is an informal version of PAW Center where AP students are encouraged to gather together and form student-led study groups. May 19 through May 23 (mornings and afternoons) will be PAW Center 911, where students can come by to get assistance in last minute assignments and corrections. Please note that they won’t be able to be fully staffed due to end of year commitments, so there will be a limited numbers of tutors during these weeks. Hot drinks – coffee, tea and hot chocolate – will be available for purchase every day until they run out.

Mrs. Delgado summarizes the secret of successful tutorials: “Parents, be proactive. Don’t wait for a failed test to get help. Start right away when there is homework that the student doesn’t understand. Students, don’t wait to get help. Advocate for yourself and ask questions to get the help you need. During ACE period, you can coordinate with teachers to get help. We want our students to succeed, and tutorials can play an important part in that.”