A peer tutoring company founded by a high-school junior in 2004 has now arrived in the Lyons Township area via a Western Springs mom and is already finding success pairing students and tutors.
Western Springs mom-of-three Hilary Remijas launched the west-suburban Chicago branch of the company Aristotle Peers in November and, despite the winter-break lull, is already matching nearly a dozen tutors with nearly dozen clients.
“I’m thrilled to offer this to this community, because I just feel like it’s a great thing for everybody involved,” Remijas said. “To be able to see the kids who have gone through the school system then help their younger peers—I think that’s a great thing for everybody.”
Founded as Peer2Peer Tutors (name change courtesy of a recent buyout by Aristotle Circle), Aristotle Peers offers personal one-on-one tutoring for kids grades K-12 from their fellow students: high school sophomores, juniors and seniors, as well as college students. Only the crème-de-la-crème are hired: all peer tutors are mandated to have an un-weighted GPA of at least 3.8, and boast an average SAT score of 2100 (about equal to a 32 on the ACT).
The company focuses on providing students with tutors they can relate to—kids not much older than themselves who have recently been through similar classes, or even the same class, perhaps with the same teacher.
“It’s almost like when you have a babysitter that you really like, and you say, ‘okay, kids, we’re going out tonight,’ and they’re like, ‘oh, great, Suzy’s coming over, yay!’” said Remijas. “It’s that kind of thing, where they really look up to this person. We’re not just tutoring—we’re creating role model relationships.”
Tutors undergo specific training and are held accountable for their reliability and performance. They are paired with students based on common interests and a personality fit. Sessions are typically held at students’ homes, or sometimes online, particularly if a specialized tutor is required.
“We take the time to explore the interests of both our students and tutors inside and outside the classroom,” said founder Erik Kimel, who was an East Coast high-school junior when launching the service in 2004, in a press release.
“While it is understood that our Peer Tutors must indeed distinguish themselves academically, we believe that it is their personal interests and passions that help to make them inspirational role models to other kids.”
Aristotle Peers also has a mirror in Aristotle Pros, which offers adult experts on topics like school admission and student-athlete planning. Remijas said that while some experts can require thousands of dollars in retainers for their services, Aristotle Pros are available for consultation on hourly rates, “if you just want to talk for an hour.”
The Peers program not only offers a quality local resource for parents to find tutors for their students, Remijas said, but also a way for smart high-schoolers to get job experience, teaching experience and spending money. The hours are light—one to three a week, at this point—and slot easily into a student schedule.
Currently, the west-suburban Chicago branch of Aristotle Peers has students from Lyons Township HS, Hinsdale Central HS, DePaul University and the University of Chicago. Qualified applicants to be tutors are welcome.
“It’s a great first job opportunity,” Remijas said.
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