When Willow Springs Elementary Principal Marianne Yule first had the idea last year to recruit a group of students from Corner Canyon High to come tutor some of the children in her school, she had no idea what response she was going to get.
In the first half of the year, 16 Corner Canyon students walked or drove themselves down the street to Willow Springs to help one class each day. In the second half, 20 tutors came to help. This year, a group of 58 high school students rotate through two classes at Willow Springs a day. The students tutor their elementary compatriots in reading and math, but often, Yule says it’s the tutors who end up learning the most.
“I think the tutors are learning how to serve other people,” Yule recently said. “They are doing what the teacher asks and helping young kids make progress and they are seeing they can make a difference in the lives of these children and they really are making a difference to our students.”
Yule first proposed the project as assistant principal last year at Willow Springs. The project was part of her work to gain her administrative license. It was a collaborative effort between Yule, then-principal Sharyle Karren and Corner Canyon Principal Mary Bailey.
After seeing the potential for the program, Bailey listed the project as an elective called “Elementary Tutoring” and the class has soared in popularity. Students in kindergarten, second, third, fourth and fifth grades receive tutors.
The Corner Canyon tutors are responsible for their own transportation to Willow Springs convenient, since the schools are within walking distance of each other. They work with students who need a little extra attention, sitting at desks and working out mathematical problems with some and crouching in the hallway and practicing reading out loud with others.
The students love the interaction they receive from the younger children, and for some who already dream of teaching when they grow older, the experience is a highlight in their day.
“I want to be a teacher,” said Brittany Jackson, a Corner Canyon junior. “This is one of my favorite classes. I just love helping kids so it feels good.”