Academic Center offers support for students

Jordan+English+does+her+history+homework+in+the+Academic+Center.+

Kai Yoshida

Jordan English does her history homework in the Academic Center.

A little-known resource for Carlmont students lies in the upper A hall, providing students with opportunities to catch up on homework and study for tests.

The Academic Center, formerly known as the Tutoring Center, is a space where students can work on their schoolwork while getting assistance from both teachers and student tutors. It is located in A12 after school from 3:25 p.m. to 4:25 p.m. and during zero periods in the library. However, a quick survey of Carlmont students will reveal that most have never visited.

“All I know about the Tutoring Center is that it is in room A12,” said Ethan Moussa, a sophomore.

The problem seems to be that no one knows what the Academic Center is all about. The Carlmont website shows a page with only the bare-bones information. There are no specifics on what happens in the classroom or the benefits of attending. It is hard for students to find more details without physically attending a session. 

While A12 can accommodate approximately 40 students, the room often appears to be far from full.

“Attendance starts picking up after progress reports are sent out. And then, closer to finals. But I’d say that normally between 15 to 20 students, on average,” said Emily Van Sebille, a teacher at Carlmont.

The Academic Center offers school supplies, textbooks, and Chromebooks for students to use freely. As a bonus, the teachers provide free snacks. The nearby Belmont library also has similar materials, but unlike the Academic Center, it isn’t on campus. 

“It’s a normal part of someone’s routine; you can just drop by the Tutoring Center,” said Jordan English, a regular visitor. 

Only a handful of students are currently volunteering at the center, so a student tutor may not regularly be available. Depending on the day, teachers of different subjects come ready to help students individually.

“They usually have tutors readily available in different subjects and teachers that are knowledgeable, not just in their own subjects that can help you find the right answer,” said Gaby Goldman, a senior.

One of the student tutors is Levi Konrad-Shankland, who tutors in math and French. Alongside tutoring for the first time, Konrad-Shankland is one of the first tutors of this school year.

“If it’s one-on-one, then you can ask questions more freely. It’s much easier to make sure that who I’m tutoring understands,” Konrad-Shankland said.

Pullquote Photo

It’s volunteer hours, and I am vaguely interested in becoming a teacher”

— Levi Konrad-Shankland

Although the Academic Center is helpful, there are some negative aspects as well. Unlike a library, the Academic Center is not a silent space. There is a constant low murmur of students talking to one another. For someone who needs silence, the library may be a better option.

Many students cannot visit the Academic Center due to their tight schedules.

Grace Xu, a sophomore, said, “It will be a lot more helpful if people can sign up for the Academic Center for Flex time.” 

Although the Academic Center can help those catch up with existing subjects, it is limited in its ability to help in more extreme cases.

“I think that for students who are just looking for a little bit of extra help, this is fine,” Van Sebille said. “But for students who are multiple grade levels lower probably need more one-on-one, individualized tutoring.” 

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