Free tutoring available for all FCPS students

A screenshot of the opening page of through Schoology, a completely free of cost program available for all students in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS). “You can either connect with a tutor on demand right now and there will be a tutor that will come on within 60 seconds for you,” Jefferson principal Ann Bonitatibus said. “if you have a big math test this week, and you’re going to be studying on Wednesday night, you could go ahead and schedule 8 p.m. Wednesday night to have a tutor and they can help you study.”

Grace Sharma, Copy Editor

Jefferson students participated in an advisory lesson on Feb. 6 explaining, a program paid in full by Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), available through Schoology

The program links students to a tutor for any subject, ranging from core courses to Advancement Placement (AP) classes to world languages, who they can then work with either over video or chat for however long they need. 

“The average session length is about a half hour, [which is] so much faster than you trying to do it all on your own,” Jefferson principal Ann Bonitatibus said. “So I really wish that more people would use it and access it.”

According to the advisory lesson, 109 Jefferson students used for a total of 596 sessions. Of those sessions, the average recommendation rating from a Jefferson student was 99%. 

“To be honest, I think some of our teachers were skeptical because they I think they were thinking ‘Are [there] good tutors on here or have they been vetted?’ And we said, ‘This is FCPS. [They] had a contract and vetted them,’” Bonitatibus said. “And all of our students who have used so far have been very positive about it.” 

After completing a session, students can rate their tutor, request a new one, schedule another session with the same tutor, and watch back the session later. 

“Your entire session gets recorded [including] everything that you’ve been typing in, so you can get a transcript of it,” Bonitatibus said. “So when you’re studying if you need to go back and try to remember what the tutor helped you with you can go back and read your transcript.”

In addition to tutoring, other resources are available for students in the program. 

“Let’s say if you’re writing a paper or if people are writing their essays for college, you can submit a paper for review and they’ll take a look at it,” Bonitatibus said. “You can [also] take practice quizzes in different content areas, so if there’s something with a particular skill, you go on there they have online quizzes that are there. Also, for people who want to prep for AP exams and stuff like that.”

To skeptics of the program, Bonitatibus encourages them to try it at least once before a test in a subject they are struggling with. 

“You don’t know until you try,” Bonitatibus said. “We don’t have any evidence suggesting that people have not found it helpful. TJ students are very discerning. If a tutor [wasn’t] helping them, they would certainly rate them with one or two stars and say, ‘Don’t ever use it again.’ But for the people who are using it, it’s almost like it’s the best-kept secret out there because they’re doing really well with it.”