Schools today are faced with the challenge of preparing students to take their places in an increasingly complex world. They need to ensure that students have an understanding not only of facts and figures, but also of how to apply this knowledge to solve problems in the real world. At the same time, businesses and others in our communities are looking for ways to get more involved in the education of the students who are our children, our neighbors, and our future employees, employers and, coworkers.

In these pages we outline one way in which businesses can enter into a partnership with schools by providing individual tutors to students. This can yield several benefits:

We try to provide here a recipe for establishing such a partnership and the roles of the various parties involved.

These are lessons learned from programs beginning in 1997 between IBM and Essex High School, Colchester Middle School, and South Burlington High School, and later expanding to include other schools, under the auspices of the Vermont State Mathematics Coalition. It is not meant to be the final word on how such a program should be organized. Many aspects can and should be changed to adapt to the specifics of the school and business. For example, IBM has an extensive internal intranet to which all employees have access and which was used to provide an internal web site at which volunteers could sign up. At other businesses the sign-up might be handled by a bulletin board list or through internal mail.

We would like to hear your comments on this material? And we'd especially like to hear from anyone setting up their own tutoring program. Let us know about your experience. What worked? What didn't? How did you modify the material provided here? What results you've achieved? Send e-mail to David Hathaway or Bob Chaffee or send your comments to:

Bob Chaffee, Executive Director
Vermont State Mathematics Coalition
7 Walnut Lane
Essex Junction, VT 05452-4373