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Bridgeport School District
55781 National Rd.
Bridgeport, OH 43912
Phone: 740-635-1713
Fax: 740-635-6003
Peer Tutoring Program Bridges Schools
Peer tutors have been a mainstay for more than a decade and the program allows high school and even some middle school students to assist teachers in class, help the school nurse and even provide extra hands in the kitchen and school office. Bridgeport High School Guidance Counselor Vicki Falcone said it benefits all ages because high school pupils have a constructive way to spend their free time by working in the elementary school. “We have nine periods and are connected to the middle school,” Falcone said. “We ended up having high school kids with more than one study hall and this is just a win-win. You have students who may be teachers in the future and they are not aides; they are actually used in the classroom.”

About 30 students, including one middle school pupil and the remainder in grades 9-12, take time each day to read to elementary students and help them with sight words, math or other studies, while some assist the school nurse or help in the kitchen or school office. Falcone said it was offered to male and female students and the peer tutors receive class credit, plus the program has a pass-fail system. “We’re trying to be creative and help students gain life experiences. Relationships are really built there and there’s a bond,” she added. “Some of the kids moved on to education and it definitely opened their eyes.”

One such case was Maclaine Murad, a 2014 BHS graduate who currently serves as a kindergarten teacher at Bridgeport Elementary. Murad said she was influenced by the program and has always enjoyed working with kids. “I did peer tutoring for two years in the preschool and loved it. That’s what got me interested in education,” she said, adding that she eventually returned to and taught them in third grade before taking her current position. “Now that I’m here teaching, I can see the class I was peer tutoring is now in fourth grade.”

She recalled the excitement of little ones in class or when they recognized her in the hallway or the community. Teaching is a family affair with her sister as a fellow faculty member, but Murad said the program ultimately helped her choose her career path. “It’s a great program and I would encourage any high school student to do it,” she noted.

Senior Tori and Freshmen Madison and Lillian currently are peer tutors and said they have established a rapport with the younger students while also gaining some hands-on knowledge.

“I’ve had peer mentors for 12 or 13 years and I love them. It’s nice having extra hands in the classroom,” Liston added. “I’m very appreciative of them. I have four peer tutors from the high school and there are several students who need help with sight words, and giving them that extra practice helps them get ready and their knowledge of words improves."
Bridgeport High School Freshman Madison spends some free time assisting Brooke Syrylo’s preschool class as part of a peer tutoring program. The longtime program offers class credit and a pass-fail grade to male or female high school students to assist teachers, the school nurse, kitchen staff or office each day at the elementary school. Pictured is Madison with preschoolers, from left, Autumn, Lily and Ryker . 

“I’ve done peer tutoring for four years and was in the office,” Parsons said, adding that she began in middle school and has also assisted school nurse Gena Spurlock. “If I walk through the hallway, 20 kids will probably say my name.” Meanwhile, Spurlock said Parsons was very helpful and provides an extra set of hands when dealing with her young children. “The high school has helped me greatly,” Spurlock added. “[Parsons] does a lot for me by taking temperatures to getting ice packs.”

Madison, a Freshman who works with preschool teacher Brooke Syrylo, also gets to spend time with little sister Easton in class. “I enjoy being around kids, so it’s nice. I like getting to work with the kids and helping them,” Madison commented. “We’ve really enjoyed this opportunity,” Syrylo interjected. “We’ve seen it benefit the high school students and the preschool and the relationships they’ve developed. They can be a good influence and it builds a sense of community.”

Lillian, a Freshman who works with first-grade teacher Sharon Liston, also enjoys getting to know the children better. “I think that I want to be a teacher when I’m older. I like to be interactive with kids and I want what’s best for the little ones,” she quipped. For her part, Liston said peer tutors have helped students review sight words, practice their math and spelling and assisted her with grading papers.

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