While peer tutoring at Dana Hall has existed in many forms, the program got rebranded at the start of the 2022-23 school year, thanks to S. Bililies ’23 and Upper School Learning Specialist Jillian DeBusk, to make it more visible and accessible to all Upper School students.
Bililies has seen “how unaffordable and inaccessible tutoring can be, and I saw peer tutoring as a step towards greater equity at Dana Hall,” she said. “Academic support is often not accessible to under-represented minority groups or students without the financial means. I wanted peer tutoring to be my contribution to equity for all at Dana Hall.
“Another goal I had was to create an academic support system that benefits everyone,” Bililies said, “as both tutors and tutees alike benefit from a session. This model means we can collectively avoid labeling students who need help as weak or underperforming, and thus encourage more students to feel comfortable asking for help.”
There are 14 peer tutors, who are juniors and seniors, and at least one tutor is proficient in all academic subjects offered at Dana Hall. To sign up for a tutor, students access the peer tutoring page on Canvas, the School’s learning management system. There they can see a comprehensive list of subjects and tutors and book a time to meet one-on-one.
DeBusk, who serves as the faculty advisor, provided guidance and support to Bililies as she got the program up and running. “Over the summer, she and I met virtually a few times to discuss her vision and goals,” DeBusk said. “I helped her focus on generating interest, recruiting tutors, and mapping out the challenging logistics of where students and tutors would meet during the Classroom Building renovation project. One aspect of our work this year that I am most proud of is the development of our peer tutoring training and tutoring manual.”
As its student leader, Bililies believes that the peer tutoring program “promotes collaboration in the Dana Hall community,” she said. “Not only does it connect people within classes and between grades who may not normally meet, but it emphasizes the importance of working together. My hope is that the program personifies Dana Hall’s values of supporting others in their pursuit of success. The only way we can all succeed is if everyone has a path to success.”