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Group Of NYC Students Creates 'Scholar Studio,' Free Online Tutoring Course To Help Others Prepare For Upcoming School Year

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- With so many unknowns regarding what the upcoming school year will look like, a group of New York City high school students are making sure others feel ready, regardless.

The summer is usually an exciting time for teenagers, but this summer has been far from normal.

"Because of the COVID-19, most of our summer plans have canceled," said Stuyvesant High School student Alyssa Choi told CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis on Monday.

Choi and nine other New York City high school students are putting their time to good use by creating "Scholar Studio," an online summer tutoring program.

"We made this program to help students feel more prepared and feel more confident for their upcoming school year," said Choi.

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Another member of the group, Kristina Lian, a student at The Bronx High School of Science, said that another reason the group came up with the program is to offer a free option for students who may not be able to access normal online tutoring options.

"A lot of tutoring programs can be really costly and not everyone has the opportunity to access these resources, so we wanted to make it a free program," said Lian.


The program is inspired by free programs that members of the group experienced at Russell Sage Junior High, tapping into their former teachers for guidance.

"They helped us with the curriculum putting it together," said Emma Bell a Townsend Harris High School student.

The custom-made SHSAT and Regents prep is aimed towards middle school students, but the group welcomes any student in any grade hoping to also serve as mentors.

"I think it's nice for them to be able to have someone who can speak to them about what they're going through," said Renee Yang, a student at Stuyvesant High School.

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Another member of the group, Gabriela Maldonado, a student at Mary Louis High School, said that the students working with peers will make for a more friendly learning environment.

"As student to student it will be easier to form a connection over Zoom as opposed to teacher to student because they would relate to us," said Maldonado.

The group is connecting through social media with "mini mentoring" notes encouraging studying but also stepping away from the books with exercise or a new hobby.

Learning specialist Dr. Rebecca Mannis said to avoid "summer slide," it's important to keep students of all ages engaged in creative ways.

"Whether it's a walk to Central Park and talking about the different categories and sizes of the dog breeds they pass, or whether it's an opportunity to step back and have the kids reflect about some news considerations," said Dr. Mannis owner of Ivy Prep Learning Center.

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When it comes to remote learning, Mannis encourages parents to work with their kids and to be ready for what could come.

"We know the process of absorbing information through digital text is a much less fluid process, so we want to be thinking about giving kids sort of a nice diet of reading, language and critical thinking experiences so they can truly grow even in the face of COVID," Mannis said.

So far, 100 students have signed up for Scholar Studio tutoring, which will begin in August. The goal is for students to be feeling confident for the upcoming school year whether classes happen in person or stay in the digital space.

If you want to sign up your student for the program, you have until the end of July. More information can be found here.

The following is a list of the students who are either involved in the program or helped found it. They will all be juniors in the fall:

Kristina Lian, The Bronx High School of Science

Emma Bell, Townsend Harris High School

Frances Lum, The Bronx High School of Science

Alyssa Choi, Stuyvesant High School

Gabriela Maldonado, Mary Louis High School

Renee Yang, Stuyvesant High School

Jennifer Sun, Stuyvesant High School

Loy Hashimoto, Stuyvesant High School

Emma Buller, Stuyvesant High School

Xiaoshen Ma, Stuyvesant High School

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