“I don’t need a tutor” the seventh grader grumbled as he made his way into the auditorium for a guest presentation at his Virginia Beach middle school. Thirty minutes later, he had changed his mind. What transpired in that thirty minutes was part of the tutor.com/military support team’s latest outreach effort in highly military-connected school systems around the world.
So what could we possibly have done or said in such a short time span to change the way a seventh grader thinks? It’s easy, we showed him something new, he tried it for himself, then he had what we refer to as, an “ah-ha moment.” This encounter was part of a week in Virginia Beach, VA, an area with more than 86,000 active duty military personnel and, combined with Hampton Roads, home to 9 major military installations representing all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.1 Our team visited 10 schools over the week and was able to talk to more than 1,300 students about this free resource (funded by our friends at the Department of Defense and Coast Guard Mutual Assistance) and show them how to have a tutoring session. Just this brief visit to Virginia Beach has increased usage of the tutor.com/military program associated with military installations in that area by more than sixteen percent in the two weeks after the visit.
We had an amazing group helping us that week, including the School Liaison Officers from Joint Base Little Creek/Fort Story and Naval Air Station Oceana, as well as representatives from the Virginia Beach School District. For the five members of the military team, school visits are the most rewarding part of our job, by far! Every visit is customized to meet the needs of that particular school, but during each trip three main things happen: We talk to the students about the program in a fun, interactive way. Everyone on our team is military connected in some way, most of us “brats” ourselves, so we understand what these children face. This allows us to share anecdotes of our own childhood and empathize with them about the trials and tribulations only a military child will know. Secondly, we give them a sample problem and help them log-in and have a session with one of our tutors. Finally, they leave, practically tutor.com/military experts themselves, but just in case, we give them a folder loaded with information to share with their parents when they get home.
We love to be there when that seventh grader learns that tutor.com/military isn’t just for students who are getting bad grades. When he realizes our tutors can check work, help study for tests, review essays, or just get you over the hump when you are a little bit stuck. We want to see the sparkle in his eyes when he tries it for the first time and exclaims “Wow, this is a real person?” When he realizes that he has access to his own “personal homework assistant” 24 hours a day, even when one parent is deployed and the other doesn’t recognize his math homework anymore.
We also get a great response from teachers, school counselors and school administration when we visit a school. Many of them don’t realize the many ways tutor.com/military can help improve grades and overall student performance. We still hand out flyers at events, we still talk to parents, and we still give away lots of purple goodies. This definitely helps to spread the word, however, we had our own “ah-ha moment” and realized that the very best way to get a student to understand what tutor.com/military is really all about is to let them try it. Better yet, let them try it in an academically-focused environment, with someone in the room to explain how it works and answer their questions. Whenever we visit an area, we compare how many students used the service in the time leading up to our visit to how many use it after. Thanks to our efforts in schools all over the world, usage of tutor.com/military has definitely grown in the areas we visit!
As these well-travelled, resilient military children move from one school to the next, our team does the same. Sometimes we even run into students we have met before, and they remember us. We travel year round and are open to going anywhere we are requested! In 2017, we had 136 visits and meetings throughout the year across 24 states, including Hawaii and Alaska. Since we are a small team, we try to get the most value from each trip and are not afraid to fit in as many schools, grades, and classes as possible in one area during the timeframe of our visit.
Despite our hundreds of visits and thousands of children reached, the tutor.com/military program is a much underutilized resource. We encourage everyone who works with military-connected students to consider scheduling a demo in your area. We do put in a lot of hard work in terms of coordinating classes and students, but dare we say, our visits are actually a lot of fun! Just ask anyone on our team and they will probably tell you they have the best job in the world, which is good, because in that world there are more than one million active duty U.S. military school age dependents. So, if you work in an area with lots of military connected students, why are you still reading this blog? Visit www.tutor.com/military to learn more, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your tutor.com school visit today!
Still curious about how a visit works? Continue reading our FAQ that you can share with schools.
What is tutor.com/military?
Tutor.com for U.S. Military Families is a free resource provided to service members and grades K-12 students in Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard families. By providing an online tutoring service with live, expert tutors available 24/7, military children are able to receive academic help at the moment of need. Such help has been proven to be efficient, effective, and life-changing, especially to struggling students. Military students can receive tutoring at all skill levels in over 40 subjects.
Why is it important to show children how to use tutor.com/military?
Tutor.com/military is an important resource for children in grades K-12 to have access to. It is funded by the Department of Defense and provides students with unlimited access at no cost. All students could benefit from a little homework help, essay review, or test practice—especially military children who are moving frequently or have a parent who is not always available to help. When we meet with children, we are able to talk to them about all of these unique challenges and give them the chance to try tutor.com/military firsthand. Doing this has a bigger impact than just receiving a flyer, as well as encourages the student to want to use the program and go home and share it with their families! Each student in the home can have their own account!
How often does the tutor.com/military team travel and where?
Our team travels year round and we are open to going anywhere we are requested! In 2017 we had 136 visits and meetings throughout the year across 24 states, including Hawaii and Alaska. It is most beneficial for both our team and the schools to organize as many classroom “sessions” in one area during a specific timeframe. That way, we are able to connect with as many students as possible while making it easier on the school organizers, too.
What happens during a school visit?
Our team works with the appropriate contact in advance to set up a date and then determines how many schools are available to participate and how many children are eligible to use the program. The school will work to get the students pulled into a tutor.com/military “session” (usually a free period to avoid interrupting any testing) in a computer lab or classroom where students can set up their laptops. In 30-minutes or less, we are able to teach children about the program, how it works and all of the different features, and best of all, students have the opportunity to go into our interactive classroom to try a one-on-one session with a real tutor.
What does a tutoring session in our classroom look like?
All of our sessions happen in an interactive classroom with text chat and a whiteboard that both the student and tutor can draw, share files and pictures, or graph on. You can watch a video here for more information.
Do you travel for other events in addition to school visits?
Yes! We present to various groups (e.g. school administrators and counselors, homeschool groups, etc.), conduct briefings and trainings at military installations, and attend events on base and in the surrounding community.
Where can I request a visit for my military-impacted school or event?
What are people saying about school visits?
Our coordinator from our trip to Virginia Beach said: “Thank you… for all of your efforts! I think we all agree the week was very successful…I look forward to our future work together. Thanks again!”
This is feedback from other tutor.com/military visits we have attended:
“We are really excited about this resource for our military connected students!”
“I’ve already been on the phone with a couple of other SLO’s who are interested, and wanted to know how we did it. I’ll be giving all of you high marks, and truly appreciate the service our area got. Thanks so much!”
“I am so thankful for the time [tutor.com] took to educate the CG Personnel Service Center folks. Your presentation was very informative, I received many accolades from the attendees. Thank you for all you do.”
“Thank you so much for coming! …One of the 4th grade students really enjoyed and told her teacher, ‘I can ask this man/lady ANYTHING and they will help me. I am so excited.’”
We want to reach as many children as possible to spread the word about tutor.com/military. Please reach out and we will get back to you quickly to discuss a potential visit!
1 “Virginia Beach Economic Development: Military” Retrieved from: https://www.yesvirginiabeach.com/Business-Environment/workforce/Pages/military.aspx.
Tutor.com for U.S. Military Families is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) MWR Library Program, the DoD Navy General Library Program and Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (CGMA). Those who fund the program determine eligibility for its use. Long-term availability of the program is not guaranteed.