Q&A: Vernon Hills High School launches Academic Resource Center

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On Aug. 27, 2018, Vernon Hills High Schools’ peer tutoring center launched for all students. The Academic Resource Center (ARC) serves as a resource for students seeking help on classwork, and is open Monday through Friday before school, eight periods a day and after school.


Director of Programming and Data Analysis Dr. Young, English Department Chair Ms. Nieves, and other Vernon Hills High School staff aided in developing the ARC. Throughout the process, the group included student feedback from the Student Diversity Council and the Student Council Executive Board in their decision-making.


Ms. Nieves sat down with TSP staff to discuss the launch of the ARC.


TSP: What prompted this change from the IRC to the ARC?

Nieves: I would say the impetus would be Dr. Young. He has seen this in other places. So, he started to do some of his background checking on other places and then a couple of us went on a tour. We [Ms. Tolva, Mr. O’Brien, Dr. Young, myself, Mr. Austin, and Ms. Garcia] were able to see how the tutoring center works [at Niles West High School]; we were able to talk to some of the tutors. The day that we were there, there were teachers in there — just like there are for the Write Place — but they were secondary. We came back, had several meetings, and then we decided to go for it.


TSP: What does the ARC do that things like the IRC and LMC don’t?

Nieves: First, we have RATs, which are Rent-A-Tutors. A teacher can now request that a tutor come to his/her class and help. The other thing, which we garnered from student feedback, is sometimes when [students] go in and want to talk with a teacher, either [their] teacher’s not available or [they] go in [to the IRC] for math help, and they have no idea who the math teacher is. So, sometimes they’re intimidated by adults or just don’t feel as comfortable. And so now, of course, our main focus is tutoring peers; it will be much more robust. The biggest difference that will affect students before and after school is that [in the past] we only had math help after school, sometimes; now, we have math, Spanish, science, and English before and after school, as well. I think those things will be the most helpful and the most different.


TSP: How is the ARC comparable to the NHS tutoring program?

Nieves: There is no more NHS tutoring program. We do still have NHS students who are tutoring; they’re just doing it in a more organized way. Another way that it’s different is that you used to have to go to your counselor or just someone else to request an NHS tutor. So now, it’s just a more streamlined way to do it. There are no appointments; you can drop in anytime.

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