New 24/7 tutoring service aims to close academic gap

Palm Beach County School District considers moving forward with contract proposal
Posted at 6:55 PM, Dec 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-15 18:55:38-05

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — The School District of Palm Beach County is considering moving forward Wednesday with a proposal of contracting around the clock tutoring service for its students called Paper.

“The learning loss over the pandemic and over the last year has been hard,” said District 2 School Board Member Alexandria Ayala. We are really looking for things to offer to augment their education.”

It is an online tutoring service that provides free unlimited, 24-hour academic support in any subject, in several languages to students.

The school district hopes this will close the divide in academics among students.

“Different communities have different means, capacity and access,” said Ayala. So, this is something that will be offered to every single student regardless of house income or ZIP code.”

School leaders hope this will help students continue to develop skills and concepts beyond the school day especially in hard subjects.

“Math was difficult. That was across the county, the state, the nation,” said Chief of Schools Deputy Superintendent Edward Tierney. “We just saw a huge slide in math for all students. So, we're looking at this as a way to accelerate the recovery, particularly in math.”

Julio Fuentes’ daughter, Gabriella, is a sophomore at Suncoast High School.

Right now, she is in advanced math–and at times there are equations he and her daughter can’t figure out on their own.

“Some problems she brings to myself and her mom and we just can’t figure it out,” Fuentes said. “So, again having access to that 24/7 tutor is something we most definitely will be using.”

The tutoring service will cost more than a million dollars in Palm Beach County School District. Leaders said this will be funded by the elementary and secondary school emergency relief which is part of the American Rescue Plan Act.

The contract will run through may of next year with options to renew.

“I am going to hope principles are monitored by the student, by the school level that the students are using it and that the instructional superintendent and regional superintendents are monitoring the schools for which they are responsible,” said Tierney, “and we will do that on the district level to make sure we are maximizing effort and hopefully getting a good return on the investment.”