Local tutoring service expands to elementary school

By By Joel Denicoff, Staff Writer

Although it started as a small Montgomery County company, Peer2Peer tutoring has expanded to Howard County, Fairfax County, Westchester, New York and, for the first time, to an elementary school.
Peer2Peer is now providing free tutoring for students from Strathmore Elementary School.
Strathmore is a Title I school, meaning over 40 percent of the students in attendance come from low-income families, and 62 percent of students who attend Strathmore are on free or reduced lunch, so most of the students at the school might not be able to afford private tutoring.

“We chose to tutor at Strathmore Elementary School to give those students a chance to receive free help with education,” Peer2Peer founder and 2004 CHS alumnus Erik Kimel said. “During grades three to five, many kids fall behind in school, and our program provides these kids with a way to stay on course.”
The program, which began Oct. 18, is held at the school from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and will continue until May 30, 2011. On the first day of the program, 45 students arrived for the free tutoring.
“Peer2Peer is tutoring at the school because it is convenient for the students to stay after school, and it provides students who go to Einstein and Kennedy local jobs,”  Kimel said.
Beginning pay for a Peer2Peer tutor is $12 per hour, and in the case of the tutors working at Strathmore, the funding comes from a federal grant. Each tutor must commit to at least two hours of tutoring per week.
Seniors Julian Debenedetti and Ben Kramer are the two Peer2Peer student managers who recruit and train all the Peer2Peer CHS student tutors.
“I, personally, want Peer2Peer to continue its already large presence in the CHS community,” Debenedetti said.
Kimel started the organization in 2004 after he graduated when he placed an ad in the Gazette. As of the 2009-2010 school year, the company has provided 358 jobs for high school students and has tutored 533 students.