WHO WE ARE
Sprout and STEM is a volunteer-based organization with the goal of supplementing high school students who may otherwise lack the means to bolster their educational experience. The program provides the educationally disadvantaged with a variety of resources, such as tutoring and mentorship, and was established in July of 2019 in response to a state-funded review of the Providence public schools. The Johns Hopkins School of Education reported—among other discouraging findings—that the Providence public school system was in utter disarray. Ultimately, Sprout and STEM aims to advocate for the capital city's forgotten students, ameliorate educational disparities, and inspire the pursuit of post-secondary education.
Our organization is composed of and coordinated by undergraduate and graduate students representing regional academic institutions, including but not limited to: Brown University, Providence College, the University of Rhode Island, and Rhode Island College. While our mentors are diverse and individualistic, there is noticeable similarity in their collective character, ability, and integrity. And as our name implies, Sprout and STEM requires our tutors to demonstrate a strong understanding of the natural sciences.
WHAT WE DO
In catalytic fashion, Sprout and STEM integrates the academic culture of Providence-area universities with that of local public schools. Our goal is to provide underserved high school students with tutoring and mentorship through biweekly after-school sessions (pre-COVID). In light of the pandemic, we have taken our services online where students can expect to receive assistance by writing and posting questions in the High School Tutoring Forum under the tab of Biology, Chemistry, or Physics. Our tutors will promptly respond to these questions with the necessary explanation and clarification.
Tutoring and mentorship are important features in educational development and are especially necessary for students in school systems with limited resources. We welcome students of all abilities—whether they struggle or excel in one area or another—to take part in our program. In several cases, students have joined our program in search of more rigorous academic instruction, insight into post-secondary education, and the opportunity to build rapport.
Ultimately, we take great pride in our opportunity and ability to positively influence malleable high school students by inspiring them to achieve academic and professional success. Sprout and STEM welcomes any and all qualified individuals interested in contributing to our mission and encourage potential tutors and mentors to browse the remainder of our page. Continue reading for additional information regarding session structure and tutoring responsibilities.
"Volunteers do not necessarily have the time;
they just have the heart."
Our volunteers are the lifeblood of the organization and the drive behind our advocacy. The pride our team takes in the promotion of equitable education is worth rejoicing. We are confident that anyone interested in joining our program will find their pending responsibilities manageable and accommodating. We require that tutors attend a minimum of two sessions per month where each session is two hours in duration (pre-COVID). Our requirements have been updated since the implementation of the online forum.
We realize that an absolute mastery of all science is unrealistic, even for seasoned collegiates. That being said, tutors should make their best effort to assist students regardless of the question presented. Additionally, our program emphasizes the importance of upholding authenticity and academic integrity. Tutors and students are expected to maintain honesty in the origination and submission of academic material; Sprout and STEM is a resource rather than an answerbank.
Tutors are asked to begin their sessions with a general overview reiterating recently introduced topics and concepts (pre-COVID). Regular communication between our administrators and the high school faculty ensures that our tutors are privy to course structure and timelines.
We expect our tutors and high school students to maintain mutual respect and professionalism throughout their collaboration. Sprout and STEM asks both parties to value and appreciate the other; this working relationship is dynamic and mutually dependent. Tutors are asked to arrive punctually, notifying us of cancellations in advance of their session. As we all know, life is unpredictable and holds the capacity to create conflict between responsibilities. We will recognize notified absences in times of unexpected circumstances but otherwise rely on tutors to manage their schedules accordingly.