Independent Learning Support

Providing BPS students with tutoring and mentoring support outside of classtime

Supporting Independent Learning, Together

Boston Partners in Education is excited to announce the return of our online mentoring model that will provide students more agency in requesting mentor support. Introduced last year, our Independent Learning Support model brings our core mentoring programs outside the “classroom” for the first time to better accommodate the fluid education and learning landscapes.

Students in grades 1-12 will now be able to self-identify for our programs, enabling them to request a Boston Partners mentor on their own or with the help of a family member. For children under the age of 18, a parent or guardian can submit the nomination for a student to receive tutoring and mentoring support.

Traditionally, the process for identifying students for our programs has relied exclusively on teacher nominations. Boston Public Schools teachers will still have the opportunity to nominate students and request a mentor for their classrooms through our traditional in-class programming. However, given the new challenges presented by the pandemic, we’re proud to offer an alternative model that will provide students and mentors more flexibility in their matches.

What’s Independent Learning Support?

In the Independent Learning Support model, mentors are connected with Boston Public Schools students who have self-identified or been identified by their families as benefiting from extra, focused academic support. Once matched, mentors will meet with students on Google Meet for a minimum of one hour per week for the duration of the school year.

In this model, mentoring sessions are not bound by school hours – students and mentors can meet at an agreed-upon time to review classwork, work on projects, and build skills in the student’s area of need. There will be a silent proctor attending and monitoring all mentoring sessions for the safety and security of all parties.

Check out the mentor resources below for some helpful tips on how to approach an Independent Learning Support match.

Who Can Participate?

Independent Learning Support is open to Boston Public Schools students in grades 1 and above. Students can be nominated at any point throughout the year. Students under 18 may be nominated by a parent or guardian. Students 18 and older may nominate themselves for support. To request an academic mentor, simply fill out the nomination form and identify a student who would benefit from extra help.

Who Are Proctors?

BPiE proctors are trained volunteers who act as a silent participant during an online Independent Learning Support mentoring session to ensure the safety of participants. When a student-mentor match meets remotely, outside of traditional classroom time, BPiE proctors offer support by joining a weekly mentoring session with their camera and audio off. With the assistance from BPiE proctors, mentors, students, and BPS families can feel confident and secure knowing that there is another adult to sit-in at the meeting.

Proctor Expectations

Proctors Should:

  • Be willing to speak up if student or mentor safety issues arise
  • Be comfortable with silence
  • Have full access to Google Suite and/or Zoom
  • Be consistent and be ready for each session
  • Monitor the match for the full scheduled session
  • Commit to a regular schedule
  • Maintain confidentiality

Proctors Should Not:

  • Interrupt or take charge of the match, unless there is an urgent safety concern
  • Miss a session without communicating in advance with the mentor and Partnerships Manager
  • Discontinue the match without communication with the mentor and Partnerships Manager
  • Be openly critical of the mentor’s methods
  • Record session or take photos or screenshots
  • Leave the mentor alone with a student