Not Your Average Tutoring Program: What Makes the One-On-One Different

There's no doubt about it: kids that participate in tutoring programs do better than their peers that don't.

In general, students that participate in tutoring programs gain:

  1. Increased mastery of academic skills,

  2. Improved self-esteem and confidence,

  3. Improved social skills and friendships with positive adult role models,

  4. Instruction tailored to specific learning styles and needs, and

  5. Increased praise, feedback and encouragement.


However, Summit goes above and beyond the standard tutoring program to help students attain excellence beyond the classroom and in their every day lives. The key to helping students transform their habits for success in the Summit One-On-One Tutoring & Mentoring Programs is the Character Development component.

Character Talks

"I remember giving a character talk a couple of years ago about Forgiveness," Wendy, a long-time tutor at Summit, reminisces. "My student, Jazmin, came up to me afterwards and said, 'I argued with my Mom last week, and feel pretty bad about it. After listening to your talk, I want to apologize to her when I go home.' I thought, wow these character talks really make an impact!"

Each week, students meet one-on-one with their tutor to work for an hour on academics. During this time, students appreciate the individual attention that they receive, and they work hard to improve on academic weaknesses aided by the help and encouragement of their tutor. The tutoring session is followed by a short 5 - 10 minute "Character Talk" given by the program director or an experienced tutor, like 7-year veteran Wendy, and is the heart of the program.

Character Talks focus on a specific virtue or a good habit that applies to the everyday lives of the students, including topics like honesty, respect for parents, studying habits and peer pressure. Speakers giving the talks call on students (or tutors) and ask a lot of questions to encourage active participation and discussion. They use anecdotes and jokes to keep the talk lively and the students engaged. This way, students like Jazmin can really grasp the meaning of the character talks and relate them to their own lives.



After the Character Talks, students and their tutors take a few minutes to talk one-on-one about the virtue or habit that they learned about. They then discuss what goals the student needs to work on for the week - related to the Character Talk, and things they need to work on that are unrelated. Students focus both on their academics and virtues that they can practice each day, with goals as simple as "Practice my math flash cards for 10 minutes" or "play with my little brother."

With their All-Star Goal Sheets, students create attainable goals to work on during the week and have a visual reminder to "cross-off" the days that they met those goals. By learning how to set and reach goals, students learn a valuable life-long skill for thinking, planning and taking action in order to achieve results.


The Impact of Character Development

With weekly Character Talks on different practical virtues and goal-setting exercises, students gain so much more from Summit and their mentors and learn to develop good habits for success. Parent surveys show that their children are deeply impacted by the Character Development program at Summit. In fact, over 90% of the Summit parents surveyed have said that since coming to Summit, they have seen their children noticeably or greatly improve in the areas of:

  • Attitude towards school

  • Study habits

  • Effort in school

  • Behavior and helpfulness at home, and

  • Respect for parents and siblings.

Summit believes in the growth of the entire individual - mentally, spiritually, and physically, and addresses all of those areas within the One-On-One Tutoring & Mentoring Programs.

Nicole Heger