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LA High Schoolers Can Earn Money Tutoring Younger Siblings

A teenager in a gray shirt speaks at a podium in front of rows of fellow high school students.
Giselle Ruano, a senior at South L.A.'s Diego Rivera Learning Complex, is one of the first tutors in the Student 2 Student program.
(Mariana Dale
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L.A. officials launched a program Tuesday that offers to pay up to 1,000 low-income high school students to tutor their younger siblings or relatives who live with them.

Student 2 Student Success will prioritize children who have struggled academically as a result of the pandemic, with an emphasis on kids whose grades, attendance or completion of assignments has suffered since COVID-19 began.

“The pandemic has been especially hard on young Angelenos,” L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement. “We’re making sure younger students get the extra support they need, and providing our tutors with a chance to explore a future career in education or child care.”

The program also offers tutors the opportunity to learn real-life job skills. Steven Jabami, a counselor at the Performing Arts Community School in South L.A. who is helping to implement Student 2 Student Success, said teaching those skills was part of what drew him to become involved.

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“The prospect of walking students through an entire employment application process, creating a job readiness toolkit, practicing real life timesheets, submissions, and opening their own bank accounts,” he said, “while utilizing their strong academics and their desire to contribute to their family are all great attributes to an amazing program that excited and intrigued me.”

Giselle Ruano, a senior at South L.A.'s Diego Rivera Learning Complex, signed up to tutor her 6-year-old brother, who started kindergarten virtually. Ruano said her brother’s speech delay made online learning particularly difficult.

“Now that he is going to school in person, he is somewhat behind in almost knowing how to read,” she said. “My goal is to find lesson plans and resources like Khan Academy to help him achieve what is required as a kindergartner.”

Ruano will earn $15 an hour for up to 100 hours of tutoring and 20 hours of job skill training.

She says the program has also helped her create a budget and improve her resumé and cover letter for future job hunting.

L.A.’s Economic and Workforce Development Department reports early data from the program, and has shown that tutored students are making significant improvements in English, reading, writing and math.

And Jabami has noticed significant growth among his students.

“Students are realizing the seriousness of money management and what it takes to be self-sufficient in the near future,” he said. “Students are communicating more effectively and approaching their siblings from a different and more positive lens … [and] getting credit and recognition monetarily for their contributions at home.”

To qualify to become a tutor, students must be low-income, under the age of 25, residents of the City of L.A., and enrolled in LAUSD Title I schools.

If you're interested in signing up for the program, fill out this form or email with questions.

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What questions do you have about early childhood education and development? What do you want to know about kids ages 0-5 and those who care for them in Southern California?
Decades of research indicates early childhood education significantly boosts children’s readiness to learn. Mariana Dale wants families, caregivers and educators to have the information they need to help children 0-5 grow and thrive by identifying what’s working and what’s not in California’s early childhood system.