Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
May 23, 2024

The Tutorial Project connects Hopkins students with the Baltimore community

By YANA MULANI | April 23, 2024

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The Tutorial Project is a Center for Social Concern program that pairs Baltimore school children with Hopkins students to provide tailored academic support in reading and mathematics. 

Sam Suh, an organizer at the Tutorial Project, clarified the organization's goal in an interview with The News-Letter. 

“The purpose of the Tutorial Project is to provide educational equity among Baltimore public schools,” he said. “Baltimore City Public Schools are not the best in terms of supporting students, and so our role is to provide a way for these elementary school children to get additional skills and resources to help them in their studies and beyond.”

The program partners with schools in the Baltimore area to enroll students. Prior to the semester, organizers perform benchmark assessments to evaluate each child’s skills and weaknesses in reading and math. Based on the results, they create a personalized plan for each student to help them reach their academic goals.

In an email to The News-Letter, organizer Dylan Yoon explained that the Tutorial Project’s comprehensive approach makes it stand out from other tutoring programs.

“The Tutorial Project does a great job of understanding that we are more than a tutoring program,” he wrote. “We value each tutee comprehensively and strive to allow them to flourish as both a student and person.”

When Hopkins students volunteer with the Tutorial Project, they are matched with a specific child based on their preferences. In this way, both tutor and tutee gain a more individualized experience and are able to establish a relationship. 

According to Suh, this individualized experience is one of the most important aspects of the program. 

“Most tutoring programs just focus on one subject, and it’s not as personal. But with the Tutorial Project, you are paired with one child the whole semester, and depending on what year you come in, you can be tutoring the same student for years, which is a super rewarding experience on both ends,” he emphasized.

The Tutorial Project provides free transportation for the children to commute to and from Homewood Campus. This service was temporarily suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic when University policy changes impacted the organization’s ability to provide buses for transport. Parents and tutors alike highlighted the importance of reliable bus services in increasing accessibility to the program and creating a connection between students and their tutors. 

While the buses have since been reinstated, Suh admitted that a lack of resources limits the number of children that the program can enroll. 

“Interest is so high, but the resources and funds that we have to accommodate have been an issue that we’ve been having for quite some time,” Suh said. “There were parents who were really interested [in the Tutorial Project], but because their school was just too far from Homewood Campus, we couldn’t end up enrolling [their child].”

Yoon echoed this, contending that the program should eliminate some of the requirements that are barriers for families wanting to enroll in the program.

Suh highlighted the communication between Baltimore schools and the Tutorial Project as a point of pride. The current assistant director of the program is Amy Wilson, a former Baltimore public school teacher. Suh pointed out that there are advantages to having staff members who are familiar with the public school system and its resources. 

“We’ve been doing really well in terms of reaching out to the administrators and the teachers at their respective schools to get a better understanding of what kinds of resources these children have access to and how Tutorial can fit into that narrative of how to provide a higher quality education,” he said. 

Yoon shared that he initially joined the Tutorial Project after hearing about the fulfillment that the organization provided for tutors and tutees alike. He described that his motivation for staying in the program is to ensure that the children have an environment where they can learn resiliently and grow emotionally and academically. 

“The Tutorial Project is able to give back to the Baltimore community by fostering a space where Hopkins students can utilize their privilege, education and experiences for the benefit of children attending Baltimore City Public Schools,” he wrote. "Above all, I want the Tutorial Project to be a safe environment where children can explore and learn more about themselves.”


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