October 27, 2006

UCSD and Sweetwater School District Introduce New Online Tutoring Program in South Bay

The University of California at San Diego, and Sweetwater Union High School District are collaborating to bring high-tech online tutoring to schools in the South Bay, thereby helping students receive after-school assistance in math, science, English composition and other important college-preparatory subjects.

The new online tutoring program, known as Access UCSD, was the topic recently of a KUSI-TV news segment featuring Rod Luck, who came to Chula Vista Middle School to film the program in action.

Through web cam computer technology, the program allows students to see, hear and to communicate verbally and in writing with their UCSD undergraduate tutors located miles away in a special Outreach Communications Center at UCSD.

Access UCSD began as a pilot program at Chula Vista Middle last spring with 10 students and will be integrated this fall as an ongoing after-school initiative at Chula Vista Middle, other South Bay schools, and other schools in the area.

During the news broadcast, Chula Vista Middle eighth-graders looked intently at their computers and worked out algebra problems while receiving online tutoring assistance. One such student, Diamante Consuelo Cintron, who participated in the pilot program last spring, said Access UCSD “has already helped me with my grades and my test scores.” Classmate Jena Maria Venra Puglisi, another pilot program participant, has also benefited. “I’ve been tutored in English and math, but the math tutoring really helped me. It’s fun too…when we’re done with our school work we can talk to the tutors,” she says.

Funded by the federal GEAR-UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) initiative, Access UCSD is also in place at 18 additional middle schools and high schools in San Diego and Imperial Counties, including these other South Bay schools: National City Middle, Castle Park Middle, Granger Jr. High, Mar Vista Middle, Southwest Middle. GEAR UP and its funding are intended to better prepare students, starting at the middle school level, to succeed in high school and postsecondary education.

Through Access UCSD, “we are reaching out to locations, which in the past have been difficult for us to provide tutors for, due to the long-distance commute,” says Nicole Jackson, Director, UCSD Service Learning Initiatives, who administers the online tutoring initiative under UCSD’s Student Educational Advancement, a division of Student Affairs. Adds Chula Vista Middle School principal, Douglas Jenkins: “Access UCSD is an excellent concrete example of the power of collaboration between our two institutions to provide direct benefit to kids… we firmly believe that we provide the best quality education to our students when we work in partnership with our community and other partners around us.”

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