In August, more than 70 upperclassmen began training to be the first class of St. Mary’s Math Mentors. After four hours of training, 47 upperclassmen committed to dedicating two hours a week to help other students with math, engineering, and science. Teachers identify students who need extra help with an assignment, concept, or task. Each of these students are then paired with a mentor. Students may also request through their math teacher to be assigned a mentor. All mentoring happens on Tuesdays and Thursdays during Pirate Period.
The mission of St. Mary’s Math Mentoring Center is to provide quality supplemental support to classroom instruction that will result in increased student achievement. 𝑀3 potentially could improve communication between math, engineering, and science staff. It could provide a window allowing staff to better see what is being taught in different courses throughout the school. Potentially it could lead to improved alignment of courses. For the students, 𝑀3 is here to help students reach their goals, to encourage independent learning, and to build confidence by offering specific one-on-one help when it is needed.
𝑀3 is run by Dr. Justin Rufa and Math Department Chair Paul Hartman. Dr. Rufa brings experience tutoring athletes and others at the United States Air Force Academy. Mr. Hartman brings experience from working for 12 years with the Palmer High School Math Tutoring Center. Fifteen years ago, Palmer started one of the first high school tutoring centers in Colorado. The experience is documented in the book "The Revitalized Tutoring Center, A Guide to Transforming School Culture." At the time, Mr. Hartman was Palmer High School’s Math Department Chair.
The greatest underutilized resource in high schools is the students themselves. 𝑀3 accesses this resource. There are many benefits to being a mentor. Mentors can earn National Honor Society and Community Service volunteer hours. It looks good on a resume or college application. Mentors can request letter of recommendation. Mentors have access to get extra help with their own studies. While tutoring underclassmen, mentors review the mathematics that appears on SAT and ACT tests, likely math content that they may not have studied for some time. Mentors receive training and practice working with others in a professional environment. Mentors develop their listening, talking, explaining skills. However, the greatest benefit of being a mentor is the opportunity to contribute to St. Mary’s. The opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life. The opportunity to make St. Mary’s a friendlier, more welcoming place.
And now the St. Mary’s Math Mentoring Center wants you! Calling all retired engineers, teachers, or others who have the desire to tutor mathematics. In the fall of 2022, volunteer community tutors will be incorporated into 𝑀3. Adults who are looking to work with high school students in a safe, impactful, controlled environment should keep 𝑀3 in mind. Being a volunteer community mentor is an opportunity to share life experiences, to connect mathematics to the real world and to make a connection and impact on the next generation of Catholic leaders. There will always be math teachers on duty to answer questions and give assistance. If interested, contact Mr. Hartman.