Karen Potts learned a hard truth about parenting teenagers a few years ago: “You find out that your child doesn’t really want your help with schoolwork after about the fifth grade,” she says with a laugh.
When her son Abraham, a student at Perspectives Charter Academy, needed some academic support, the family first tried a group tutoring program that didn’t provide much personal attention. They then found Maroon Tutor Match (MTM) at the University of Chicago: an affordable, student-led program that connects UChicago student tutors with local K–12 students for one-on-one tutoring after school and on weekends.
Abraham made an amazing leap forward while working with two MTM tutors during his sophomore year at Perspectives. His GPA improved by two full points — an accomplishment that earned him an “Excellence in Academic Achievement” award at last spring’s MTM end-of-year celebration. Abraham’s progress was exceptional, but stories of academic improvement are par for the course for MTM students: On average, MTM-tutored students improve a full letter grade in the subject area where they receive tutoring, and start showing consistent improvement after just five weeks.
Potts says that Abraham’s across-the-board improvement happened because his tutors focused on boosting his note-taking and writing skills — a particular talent of tutor Meera Santhanam ’21, who has been a writer and editor for the Chicago Maroon. “She really taught him how to study and prepare for testing,” Potts said, “and, more than that, showed him the value of studying. She’s given him valuable insight into college and what it requires.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic has taken hold and Abraham has had to adjust to fully remote learning in recent months, Meera’s support has been more important than ever. Abraham now sees Meera as much as possible to stay on track during an uncertain time.
“With all of the changes going on, having Meera is one constant,” Potts said. “That’s helped.”