- Take action to end educational inequalities
- Create an association
- Guided by students
The remote learning struggle has hit most pupils harder than expected in 2020 and a group of Cambridge private school pupils have stepped in to help.
Boston COVID-Tutoring (BCT), the brainchild of David Min, a graduate of Buckingham Browne & Nichols Upper School in 2022, is a student-led organization working to end educational inequity for students from kindergarten to the 12th year.
In nearly two and a half years, the group achieved non-profit status and served more than 400 area students free of charge with the help of 400 peer tutors.
BCT’s tutors are students from Massachusetts-area high schools and universities, including BBN, Milton Academy, Roxbury Latin, Belmont High School, Harvard University, and Boston University, among others.
Student-run and started from scratch
Min has worked with Rahdin Salehian, 16, from Lynnfield, his colleague Graham Bateman, 17, from Concord, as well as Madera Longstreet-Lipson, Grace Brosnan, Tasha Roseman, Julia Torrey, Madeleine Brodeur and Christian Bateman.
Salehian said Min understood the need for tutors after hearing friends and siblings lamenting how difficult it was to adapt to online learning. Salehain said his younger sister, who attends Lynnfield Public Schools, had also struggled to adjust to the change, so he knew the effects of remote learning had to be wider in scope.
“I joined as a tutor [as COVID] started,” Salehain said.
He was paired with a seventh grade student in the summer of 2020, and they worked on the intricacies of French I.
“It was a really rewarding experience,” he said.
Graham said that since April 2020, he has had the chance to virtual tutor three students in ninth-grade math, basic elementary reading and writing.
He said that after BCT gained nonprofit status, Buckingham Browne & Nichols Upper School was able to help the group with additional resources.
Extend the BCT in the future
Graham said he and the band were delighted to be associated with The Immigrant Family Services Institute (IFSI) in the ongoing effort to educate the children of newly arrived immigrant families. Boston COVID-Tutoring works with the IFSI after-school program and provides homework help.
Candie Sanderson, BBN’s Community Outreach and Engagement Specialist, has been mentoring the group since 2020 through the school’s Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Global Education .
She said she takes no credit for the success of the program and that it’s all about the work of the students.
“I was really excited about the idea,” she said. “I was really impressed with [Min and other students’] willingness to give back, and that was their first impulse. This would never have occurred to me in second year. It was very ripe.”
Now that Min has graduated, Salehian and Graham said they are ready to move BCT forward into a new school year and reach more students across the state.
Tutors are currently available to Massachusetts residents through the organization website and offer services in all areas.