Public schools in Golden Triangle utilize free online tutoring program

Golden Triangle public schools use free online tutoring software

Third through 12th graders across the state have been given a new way to receive free online tutoring.

The Mississippi Department of Education bought access to online tutoring for English, language arts and math, and districts were allowed to sign up at no cost to them for the next two school years with the program ending in mid-2024.

The Columbus Municipal School District, Lowndes County School District, and Starkville-Octebha Unified School District have chosen to participate in the program, and the three districts are teaching parents how to help their students use the platform.

“We were granted access to Paper, an online educational program, in April,” said Debbie Murray, CMSD Assessment, Curriculum and Professional Development Coordinator. “We pushed it with our parents, but it’s hard to do a full rollout at that time of year. We started this summer with a group of 25 teachers, administrators, and academic coaches trained to be champions in their schools. Then our heroes trained staff in their schools. The teachers work with students to teach them how to Use the program. We will host training sessions for parents in September and October.”

The program allows students to log in through their smart portals and access a tutor at any time of the day. Teachers will start a written dialogue with the student about English or mathematics that they have questions about.

Teachers can provide essay reviews and can even help with math problems, but they will never provide the full answer to a student, Kristi Molding, the deputy superintendent of curriculum and education at SOCSD, told The Dispatch. Teachers will ask guiding questions and make suggestions on how to improve.

Christy Molding

“The first thing[teachers]will ask is what the student has been working on, and what they know so far,” Molding said. “Wherever this concept point is, the teacher goes from that point and starts asking guiding questions. These questions ask the student to give examples. … They will reorient or when the student walks away, the teacher will go back to the previous step where they saw the student understood and then try Go ahead from there.”

Conversations between students and teachers are monitored by the health and safety department within Paper. Dialogue between student and teacher will never go away, and teachers can access conversations to find out where students need help or where some in class are confused about a topic.

Parents can also benefit from teachers because they can sit with their children and learn concepts in real time and ask teachers questions about how they can help their children with homework.

“I think of myself as a mother of young students and when math started to look a little different and feel a little different,” Molding said.

“Parents became very frustrated because math looked different and was taught differently than it was in school. I think it makes a great resource for parents who come home from work and try to work with multiple students on multiple levels with today’s curriculum. It’s a great safety net for parents to have They have someone trained in it, and parents sit next to their kids and watch and learn and listen to a concept being re-explained by a third party.”

Molding hopes that the College of Education and Science Development will expand the program to include other subjects such as science and history. Molding and Murray hope that MDE will receive funding to help extend the program beyond 2024.

“We have the program through September 2024,” Murray said. Hopefully it will be funded after that timeline. This program is an amazing asset and gives students help at their fingertips whenever they need it.”

Stephanie Jones

LCSD leaders hope that teachers and students there will be able to begin using the program in the coming weeks.

“We are grateful for this wonderful resource that some of our teachers have begun to use,” said LCSD Assistant Superintendent Stephanie Jones.

“We plan to report on its availability further in the coming weeks so that more of our staff and students start using it. It can be very useful for students to use anytime they may need it.”

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