Homework Help Program Uses Skype To Increase Access

Photo by Josh Edge, APRN - Anchorage: Jessica Limbird works with a student during a recent tutoring session at Wonder Park Elementary.

Evening tutoring programs are nothing new for the Anchorage School District. But, they are always looking for ways to better serve the students, so this semester they are trying out something a little different.

The Title VII Indian Education Department within the Anchorage School District has been offering an evening program for years, where Alaska Native and American Indian students could come and get language instruction, dabble in the arts, get help on their homework or listen to occasional guest speaker. But this semester, they are offering a scaled back program that focuses on homework help.

Lauren Shutt is the Cultural Enrichment Specialist with the Anchorage School District. Though the program has changed, Shutt says that they are experimenting with new ways to expand access to the homework help program.

“We did a survey with the parents that participated in the evening program last semester on what were the factors that most prohibited them from attending, and it was mostly lack of transportation. So we sort of decided to take the tutoring to them, or attempt to, with the Skype program,” Shutt said.

Skype is a free, online video conferencing program.

Currently, tutors are available from 6:15 to 8:15 on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Two tutors are at Hanshew Middle School and three at Wonder Park Elementary. All are accessible either in person or online.

So far, feedback has been positive, but the turnout has been fairly small. Jessica Limbird, a tutor at Wonder Park Elementary, says that so far this semester, she has only seen about five students per night.

“I just hope more students take advantage of the service that we have to offer because I know that sometimes homework is really overwhelming for them and, you know, we’re here to help so, you know, they can come in, we’re here,” Limbird said.

Click here for a link to the PDF of the Homework Help application.

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Josh is the web producer for alaskapublic.org.

He has been a part of the web team since his internship during the summer of 2010.

Besides maintaining the website, he also reports for the Alaska Public Radio Network, gives occasional live news updates on KSKA 91.1FM during All Things Considered, runs camera and directs programs for Alaska Public Television, and has taken numerous photos and videos that appear on alaskapublic.org.

Prior to graduating from the Journalism and Public Communications Department at the University of Alaska Anchorage in December 2010, Josh worked at The Northern Light student newspaper where he and his staff won two Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker Awards.

He has also been an adjunct instructor for the JPC department at UAA.

Born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska, Josh enjoys being outdoors, so when isn’t at work, you can usually find him out fishing, camping, hunting, four-wheeling, or snowmachining.

jedge (at) alaskapublic (dot) org | 907.550.8455 | About Josh