New Life Academy’s Portrait of a Graduate states that NLA’s vision for graduates is that they become wise leaders and discerning followers. NLA students are taught to live out their faith authentically and lead generously and boldly from a heart that bends outward in love of God and of one another.
One of the ways students can practice leadership at New Life Academy is through NHS. This school year, thirty-nine juniors and seniors at NLA were inducted into the National Honor Society. Guidance Counselor and NHS supervisor Inna Collier believes the program prepares students for success in high school and beyond, specifically through its tutoring requirement. Members of the society are matched with students who have requested tutoring, from elementary age to their own peers.
NHS applicants are screened prior to acceptance, ensuring success in the tutoring program. “To be inducted into National Honor Society, students must meet the full criteria in character, scholarship, service, and leadership,” said Collier. “Both juniors and seniors go through an application and interview process where they share why they want to join NHS, how committed they are to the process, and what subjects they are comfortable tutoring in.”
Collier interviews the students who would like help with classes before matching them with an NHS tutor. “I get to know the students who want tutoring and find out what they’re involved in,” she said. “That way, the relationship between students can be more comfortable throughout the tutoring process.”
After a match is made, Collier introduces the students and helps coordinate their schedules. Tutoring takes place before or after school, during Flex periods, or even over Skype if needed. The tutoring relationship continues through the duration of the school year unless the tutee feels they no longer need help, in which case the NHS tutor becomes available to someone else.
Collier feels students tutoring other students is the most effective method. “It works best this way because the tutors have taken the same classes as the students who are struggling,” she said. “They know the teachers and assignments and can talk to peers in their own language.”
This model of tutoring also benefits the tutors themselves. NLA Junior Madeline Maas, who recently began tutoring a freshman in Geometry and Physical Science, said “Math and science are not my top subjects, but I realized that as I tutor, I am refreshing my own memory of math and science, which will help me in the future.”
Maas also noted how the tutoring program has been effective in leadership development. “Tutoring is not just an academic relationship, but also a mentorship. I have grown in the way I lead,” she said. “I have learned how to grow a friendship while also completing other goals.”
Prior to this personalized, student-centered program, NLA held open tutoring. Collier noticed the set-up was not successful, so she developed a new program. “It was intimidating and inconsistent because students had a different tutor every time. This personalized program allows them to build a meaningful relationship.”