One of the many aspects of Carlmont High School that CAF helps fund to support student success is the Tutoring Center. With the support of Carlmont families, the Wells Fargo Foundation,  and a generous multi-year grant from the Charles A. Becker Foundation, the Tutoring Center is now open three afternoons a week instead of just two.

The Tutoring Center is a classroom with computers at every desk, where students can come from 2:30-4:15 (i.e. 7th period and after school) to do schoolwork and to get help if needed on their assignments. Students also work in study groups to help each other.

An average of 50 students use the Tutoring Center each day—up from 30 per day last year—obviously filling a growing need. 30% work on math homework, and about 15% each in English, Science and Social Studies.  Many of the students who use the Tutoring Center are in the Avid program (for which it counts as Study Hall), the Academy program, or are on CHS sports teams. About 25% use the center to get work done before taking the bus home to East Palo Alto. To help tide the kids over until dinner, snacks are provided.

“Many student athletes use the Tutoring Center to finish homework before practice begins so that they are not too tired later that night.” observes Josh Engberg, a CHS Science/ Technology teacher, and one of 5 teachers who regularly work in the Tutoring Center. The other Tutoring Center teacher supervisors are Mr. Glatzel (Special Education), Mr. Nguyen (Science), Mrs. Artiga-Faupusa (English), and Mrs. Chiang (World Languages). Besides their areas of expertise, the teachers can help students with most other subjects as well. There are usually 2 teachers present, as well as one or two student math tutors.

Some Carlmont teachers offer make-up points for Tutoring Center attendance. Students can get a form signed by Tutoring Center staff showing the days and hours they attended. “About half of the students in the Tutoring Center are able to get some type of point value for coming here,” says Mr. Engberg.

Mr. Engberg sees many significant ways that the Tutoring Center helps students: “It provides a consistent and well-resourced location for any student who chooses to come and complete schoolwork. Many students that attend have trouble completing homework at home for various reasons and find the Tutoring Center a more productive and enjoyable place to complete schoolwork. The computers provided allow students to research, type, and print papers for school.”

His analysis is borne out by the comments of students who use the Tutoring Center:

  • “I think the Tutoring Center helps me with homework, as I normally struggle with homework in general.” —Dylan J.
  • “I work on my math homework and ask teachers and other students for help in mathematical problems I can’t solve. It has made me complete my homework and get assignments done ahead of time.” —Chris H.
  • “Without the Tutoring Center, I would be up really late at night doing my homework. Having this extra time and space in between school and my practice is so helpful. I am very thankful.” —Erin A.
  • Samantha L. sums it up succinctly: “I get the help I need.”

And supporting ways to give students the help they need is what CAF is all about.