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Free online tutoring program helping Fort Smith students

The program is called Tutor Me. It's an online way for students to get the help they need. The best part? It's absolutely free to the students.

FORT SMITH, Ark. — If you've ever had to get some help from a tutor, you know it can sometimes be very difficult to find that help. Fort Smith schools are the first in the state to use a new program that has taken tutoring to a new level.

The program is called Tutor Me. It's an online way for students to get the help they need. The best part? It's absolutely free to the students.

Tiffany Bone, the Fort Smith Public Schools assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, explained the user-friendly platform.

"We've integrated through a system we call 'Clever' that has all of the apps that are available to our students integrated in there, and Tutor Me is just one button they have to push, and they push that button and it goes straight to the Tutor Me platform," Dr. Bone said.

And from there, the student talks with a live tutor which is selected based on what grade they are in and what help they need. Vanesa Parga is a senior at Northside High School in Fort Smith. She says she needed some help with physics and instead of staying after school her teacher connected her with Tutor Me.

"As soon as you open the website, you just click on the subject you need help in and a bunch of teachers pop up and you can click on any," Vanesa said.  "On their profile, it'll say starting tutoring now and then you just click on start lesson and their face just pops up and you ask the questions you need answered."

Dr. Bone says the program allows the student to be in charge.

"They can decide that maybe they just want to chat and upload their paper to get tutoring like that, so it's really in the hands of the learner to decide what type of support they want," she said. "There's also a synchronist option where they can drop off papers and they just get feedback within 12 hours."

Vanesa says so far, she hasn't had any problems getting help despite the teacher not being in person.

"It's not just one teacher, you can zoom or video chat with multiple teachers and they can show you on their screen exactly what they're doing."      

Dr. Bone says the true success of this program won't be known right away. "I think we will know more once we see what the feedback is from the students and the parents."

For Vanesa, she'd give the program an A plus.

"I wish I would have had this a long time ago or at least know about it. I would definitely recommend all the other students, especially the younger ones, to start using it now because it'll really really benefit them."

Besides getting day-to-day help from the program, juniors and seniors can also get ACT and SAT prep support, all free of charge. 

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