Loyola initiates 20th annual HSPT-8 tutoring outreach

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Loyola High School launched its Twentieth Annual HSPT-8 Tutoring Outreach Program on Monday, Oct. 12. Spearheaded by the Center for Service and Justice Program Coordinator Angela Moran and Director Jesse Rodriguez, the program is set to continue until Friday, Nov. 20, in an online setting.

The HSPT-8 Tutoring Outreach Program invites eighth-graders who are preparing to take the High School Placement Test (HSPT) in the winter to engage in tutoring activities conducted by Loyola students. These eighth-grade students typically come from under-resourced Catholic elementary schools.

Rodriguez stated, “The program, over time, has evolved and grown. We have over 587 eighth-graders coming from different Catholic elementary schools that we’ve had partnerships with for well over 20 years.”

Loyola has redesigned this year’s program to be a unique remote tutoring experience, due  to our current health crisis. Science teacher Andrew Uy assists with converting this program to a meaningful virtual experience.

Rodriguez explained, “Now since COVID has taken place, we’ve had to reimagine what that [the HSPT-8 Program]looks like; and so we’ve developed a series of modules that are taught by our students, specifically seniors and some juniors that are presented on an online platform for our different schools.”

Having aided with this service project before, groups of Loyola students create pre-recorded lessons that are accessible to the various partnering schools via a landing site.

Moran stated, “Our Loyola Core Team members—there are 10 students that are part of the core team—have scripted and really worked on creating these lesson plans and launching them in modules that the eighth graders and their teachers can access.”

Although the online component is new, the program is not. Now in its 20th year of operation, this tutoring outreach program has evolved since it first began.

Moran explained, “I just look at it as something that has evolved into more of a partnership. I think when we began it felt like we were saying to the partnering elementary schools, ‘Here. We’re doing this for you.’ We didn’t include the schools and the tutors like we do now, really utilizing their feedback and their expertise.” 

The HSPT-8 Outreach Program is meant to build community among the partnering schools and Loyola itself. Upon completion of these tutoring sessions, the eighth-grade students are left feeling grateful and prepared while the Loyola tutors are left feeling fulfilled and just as grateful for the experience, according to Moran.

Moran added, “It really touches my heart when I get a student who comes into the office as a freshman at Loyola and shares that he’s been part of this program as an eighth-grader. His enthusiasm and his wanting to give back to a program that gave him so much really shows his gratitude and what he took away from the program.”

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