By Berkeley Brooks
When Rye students and families were struggling to adjust to the changing education normal in Rye this spring, Jared Small, a teacher at Rye High School, offered his services. He not only expanded Peak Performance Prep to help high school students applying to college, but also helped mentor and tutor elementary students with the pro bono assistance of more than 160 former high school and college students, who were back home due to the pandemic, through a new venture, PeakMates (Mentoring and Tutoring Elementary Students).
PeakMATES tutors met for approximately an hour each week with elementary students over FaceTime, Google Hangout, or Zoom to “work together on the younger MATE’s schoolwork, share stories about sports, music, and other interests, and forge connections,” said Small.
Tutors are matched up to their MATES with care to ensure that the student will effectively communicate with and relate to their mentor. Peak Performance has a strong relationship with many of their mentors/tutors, who are trusted and well-prepared for a multitude of issues surrounding both in-person and remote learning, and school life in general. These dedicated, personable, and committed participants put in more than 1,000 hours at no cost to help Rye children throughout much of April, May, and June.
Small, who is also the RHS Boys’ Soccer coach, and his group decided that there was an immense need to help focus Rye’s younger children who weren’t getting as much extra help as they needed during the quarantine.
He gathered a group of caring young adults with multiple skills not only tutor students, but to offer a beneficial service to many parents who were juggling having their children at home, their jobs, and everyday family responsibilities.
PeakMATES participants were well-trained before and throughout this time. They committed to attending regular virtual meetings for 20-30 minutes with Peak staff and other mentors/tutors to “share best practices, brainstorm, and offer support.” These high school and college students received community service hours to help towards their schools’ requirements. Many will also use the experience to aid in future college applications and job interviews.
Due to the success of the program this spring, Small and many participants will be continuing to offer various services this fall. Peak Performance Enrichment Pods will be launched in September, geared towards a specific high, middle, or elementary school course. “Our teachers include Peak Associate tutors and our most trusted and high-performing colleagues from top public and private schools who specialize in their specific courses,” Small explained.
High school pods will include Social Studies, Math, Spanish, English, and Science. Middle and elementary school pods will focus on reading skills, Math, writing workshops, and Spanish. If your child is struggling with these subjects, online tutoring may be of great help.
Synchronous Zoom sessions will be limited to eight students for one hour a week to provide students with the opportunity to discuss and interact with each other and their tutors. The cost of the pods will range from $75 to $150 depending on the course, teacher, and number of students. Students may request a self-selected Pod, or one with a particular focus that can be conducted online or in-person. “Using the online teaching model that enabled more than 95% of our AP review students to achieve 4’s and 5’s on their spring 2020 exams, our teachers will help your child develop a deeper content base, more robust skill set, and enhanced sense of confidence in the learning process,” Small declared.