WWPS district office

Walla Walla School District Administrative Offices, 364 S. Park St.

Walla Walla Public Schools students in grades six through 12 needing a little extra help with schoolwork now have a new option.

Using expiring federal COVID-19 relief funds, the district has begun an online tutoring website through Paper, a company that provides online tutoring for schools.

The program is free to WWPS students. Students can be matched with a Paper-employed tutor for one-on-one tutoring, 24 hours a day, according to a WWPS news release.

Students can access tutoring in English or Spanish. They can also submit essays for review, and get copy annotated by a tutor returned within 24 hours.

Walla Walla Center for Children and Families Director Brent Cummings, who is leading the program for the district, said it will help accelerate learning, which has been the goal of many districts since reopening from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Whether students need help clarifying homework questions or desire feedback on a written assignment, they can get on-demand and unlimited help when they need it in multiple languages,” Cummings said in the release.

Online tutoring isn’t new, and there are, and have been, sites students can sign up for to receive help with schoolwork.

But this partnership between the tutor company and the school district means the district can keep track of the help students are getting. In fact, Paper records all sessions and makes them available to the district for review.

“We will work closely with each and every school and classroom to provide professional development, student orientation and family communication support to ensure Paper’s student-centered learning approach accelerates student learning,” Cummings said. “This is going to be a great resource to supplement the high-quality instruction occurring daily in our classrooms and learning spaces.”

Safety can be a concern in any program that lets students chat with strangers. According to Paper’s website, all tutors are employees of the company and not independent contractors. Also, the company says all its tutors must pass a criminal background check.

Paper uses chat-based sessions without video, adding to student privacy. Students also can upload photos of their homework for assistance. Paper’s website states their tutors all have at least one year of teaching or tutoring experience.

Students can access the program, and more information, at wwps.org/freetutoring. More info about Paper is available at paper.co.

Jeremy Burnham can be reached at jeremyburnham@wwub.com.

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