It’s no secret that the pandemic has created an academically strenuous time for students across the country. 

But in Irving ISD, specifically at Nimitz High School, our very own students are providing their classmates with the additional support to alleviate some of that stress.

Members of the Nimitz National Honor Society (NHS) created and implemented a tutoring program for fellow Vikings – both in-person and remote learners – for free!

“We saw a significant amount of our fellow classmates struggling in their classes,” says NHS secretary Priya Alexander. “Specifically, during this pandemic, students do not have access to the same resources as last year, so we found it important to try and meet that need. We also had a lot of NHS members wanting to provide for the school community, so the officers worked together to create a plan to tutor. As officers, we wanted to provide back to the same community that has given us so much, and by doing this we are able to enhance the education that teachers are working so hard to provide.”

The students have worked meticulously to ensure that not a single detail goes unnoticed and that the experience is as personalized as possible to the student needing tutoring.

Students who need tutoring fill out a Google Form, listing all of their classes and describing areas where they need assistance. NHS officers, led by president Maribel Hernandez, created a spreadsheet with the approximately 50 NHS members interested in serving as tutors and all of the classes they have taken or are currently taking.

Officers then match interested students with a tutor who has taken all of the classes they are taking.

“We don’t want students getting tutoring from a tutor who doesn’t have information in all of the classes they are taking,” says Alexander. “Otherwise, they’d have to find eight different tutors. For efficiency purposes, we try to make sure they have all similar classes.”

Tutors then reach out to their students to set a schedule. Times, dates and frequency are very flexible and are tailored to each student. Tutoring is entirely virtual and takes place via Microsoft Teams.

“Of their own initiative, the Nimitz National Honor Society created this program that allows every student to receive free tutoring from their peers,” says Becky Forshaga, NHS sponsor. “This is a great program, especially during an academically strenuous time like now.  Every student who applies to be tutored is hand-matched to a specialized tutor in the National Honor Society.”

NHS officers hosted a training for tutors, describing how to record a session, advising tutoring sessions be at least an hour and sharing other pointers.

“It’s their discretion as to how they want to lead their tutoring sessions,” says Hernandez. “We don’t want to tell them exactly what to do and it does not work for a specific student. It’s supposed to be personalized for each individual student.”

Many of the tutors balance a full slate of advanced classes and extracurricular activities such as academic decathlon, band and softball. Others work or help with younger siblings. Tutoring does demand a significant amount of their time, but the tutors say it pays off.

“Specifically during this time, a lot of families are struggling and a lot of students have to stay home and take care of their siblings,” says Alexander. “There are a lot of financial struggles, and to pay for a tutor is really expensive. So to be able to offer this service for free and offer students the opportunity to succeed through the midst of a pandemic is really important for all of us. When we talked about starting this program, we really wanted to make a difference for the students and try to provide that service that may not otherwise be available to them.

Nimitz students interested in receiving tutoring services can contact any NHS officer, listed below.

  • Maribel Hernandez, President
  • Melanie Chapman, Vice President
  • Priya Alexander, Secretary
  • Andrew Phong, Treasurer
  • Kristin Rodriguez, Parliamentarian