Briarcliff High School Students Answer a Presidential Call to Action

Jason Starr and Gordon Beckler announce tutor-tutee pairings. Photo: Tevin Kim

Briarcliff High School students are responding to a nationwide problem: education.  

On July 5th, the White House announced that the Covid-19 pandemic left American students months behind in their studies. To that end, the Biden-Harris administration stressed the need for educational support and the creation of the National Partnership for Student Success.  

Long before President Biden’s call to action, Jason Starr volunteered as a tutor during the worst days of the pandemic. He saw firsthand the need to help students struggling in Briarcliff due to the confusing mess of pandemic-related restrictions and the isolation caused by those restrictions.  

“I noticed a lack of parent trust for the tutors so when we started the Briarcliff Tutor Partnership, I wanted to make sure tutors and parents connected with each other well,” Starr said.  

With the help and endorsement of the Briarcliff Manor School District, Starr and his partner, Joseph Berger, brought the Briarcliff Tutor Partnership (BTP) to life. Since then, community and trust have been at the forefront of their mission.  

This mission was reflected in their annual orientation event at Law Memorial Park’s Pavillion on July 13th, which was packed with tutors, tutees, and parents.  

A tutor and tutee get to know one another at Briarcliff Tutor Partnership’s Orientation Event. Photo: Tevin Kim

The orientation kicked off with a keynote that introduced the history and mission of the organization followed by a few tips for the new tutors.  

One of Starr’s partners, Gordon Beckler said: “Tutors and tutees have to form a personal connection for there to be success, and one of the most important things for tutors is to be positive.” 

After the presentation, tutor-tutee pairings were announced, and tutors, mainly students from Briarcliff High School, and their tutees had the chance to meet and get to know one another before their tutoring sessions in a variety of subjects from math to reading.  

Their efforts were clearly met with praise. One mother said that her child’s tutor “went above and beyond to make learning fun for my child.” Another said, “He [the tutor] quickly assessed my son and moved on to material that would challenge him.” 

In the past two years, the Partnership has expanded to 112 participants in Briarcliff, and their model has spread to 20 other school districts across the country. They are also in the midst of starting a free babysitting service for single parents unable to afford daycare. 

1 Comment

  1. Outstanding example of service learning! So proud of my former Briarcliff students! The world needs more young leaders like these!

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About the Author: Tevin Kim