Tutoring the way to success at CHS

Every Tuesday and Thursday after school in the Carrboro High library, tutoring is in session. Students can find tutoring from teachers, volunteers, parents or other students.

“I come here mostly for math, and it has helped a lot,” said Gabby Ortiz, a junior who regularly comes to these after-school tutoring sessions.

Ortiz said that she usually comes to one of the tutoring sessions each week and has seen an improvement in her grades, especially on tests and quizzes. She also gains a better and more thorough understanding of her classes’ material.

Every Tuesday and Thursday, you can find Elena Peot, CHS senior, in the library tutoring fellow students.

“The National Honors Society requires that you come at least once, so I came once and just never stopped,” said Peot.

Peot started coming to tutoring about two months ago when Ms. Rubenstein suggested that she do so, because everyone is welcome. She tutors in all subjects, with the sole exception of social studies.

Peot thinks it is important for students to know that most of the tutors are qualified to tutor past math levels one and two; most are also able to tutor in AP level classes, and there is no shame in AP stu- dents coming to tutoring.

The number of students at tutoring varies. Peot said that there are usually about 20, but if there is an essay due the next day, then there are often closer to 40 students.

You may also receive help from a UNC Chapel Hill student. Tessa Szalkowski is a UNC student and an Alpha Chi Sigma member. Alpha Chi Sigma is the chemistry fraternity, and tutoring is a service requirement for members. Szalkowski tutors every Tuesday from four to five o’clock, mostly in math and science.

Although she won’t usually work with the same students every session, Szalkowski says that she sees many students making big improvements.

“I have definitely seen students who come here regularly. I’ll see that there is a definite improvement. They are getting good grades on their homework and that sort of thing,” said Szalkowski.

Not only do these tutoring sessions help students in raising their grades, but it is also helping with their social skills, notes Szalkowski. She has seen that students have become more comfortable with asking questions.

“I think that this is an amazing program. I think that it is a way to collaborate with not just older students and teachers, but other students and form study groups,” said Szalkowski.

Overall, Carrboro has improved students’ education by offering a well-round- ed tutoring program. So next time you find yourself feeling confused in class, think about heading to the library after school on a Tuesday or Thursday.

Photo by Levi Hencke

Survey examines CHCCS drug behavior

Every odd year, the CHCCS school district administers a survey to its stu- dents about risky behaviors. Last year, according to the survey, the trends of alcohol consumption went down from 29 percent to 23 percent, and marijuana use went down from 14 percent to 10 percent.

However, some students questioned the study and whether students had answered truthfully. “There are definitely more [students doing drugs], like that’s not accurate,” said Anna Burgess, CHS sophomore.

In a study published by U.S. News and World Report, 211 teenagers were surveyed and then drug-tested specif- ically for cocaine. 71 of these teenagers tested positive for cocaine, but only two admitted to using it.

“If teens generally lie or underestimate about drug use, then the study results are going to be biased toward under-reporting and too low estimates,” said, Susan Simpson, a marketing research consultant.

Teenagers use drugs. It’s something people have known for a long time, and it’s something people have measured, studied, surveyed and tried to fix for decades. So what does Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (CHCCS) do about it?

According to U.S. News and World Report, results of surveys—like CHCCS’ risk behavior survey—are used by doctors and other health officials to measure the problem of teen drug abuse. If the problem is under-measured, these surveys become redundant. So how does one know if these surveys are accurate? “To address accuracy of reporting, survey experts believe that over-reporting and under-reporting balance each other out when students inaccurately report information,” said Scarlett Steinert, Director of Healthful Living & Athletics.

This is a theory suggested by many data statisticians: if the response error is random, then the results are accurate, within a margin of error that depends on the amount of people surveyed. However if lying about drug use is simply a characteristic of the demographic under study ― in this case teenagers ― then the results are biased.

For example, if as many teenagers are bragging about using drugs, but are really not using them, then the results will end up being accurate. But if all the teenagers generally lie about their drug use, then the results are biased and will lead to estimates that are too low.

So what makes students lie?

“I think teenagers would lie when asked about their drug use for fear of punish- ment,” said Ryan Deshler, CHS sophomore.

With fear of punishment, the first suggestion is always anonymity, but sometimes the promise of anonymity is not enough.

“Even though you know [the survey] is anonymous, and no one will know who you are, you still might have the urge to lie,” said Anna Burgess, CHS sophomore.

Ultmately, surveys such as those administered by CHCCS are intended to help direct resources to help students. These resources include substance abuse counseling and curricular resources, such as health classes. Researchers may need to explore if teenagers generally lie about drug usage.