Providing Paper 24/7

Forget about staying after school, you can now use Paper.

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Paper

A screenshot of the Paper platform with a tutoring helping a student with chemistry.

Jad Dargam, Website Manager

On December 15, 2021, the School Board of Palm Beach County voted unanimously to enter into a contract agreement with Paper Education Company to provide 24/7 online tutoring to students. Beginning in 2022, students in Palm Beach County Schools were able to access Paper through their District Portal. The School District paid over one million dollars to gain access to Paper.

Paper provided tutoring services for all subject areas, including Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes. When a student logged into Paper, they saw a list of their classes. The student then selected which class they need help on and will be connected with a live tutor. The tutoring environment is completely digital, with communication being done through a live chat and whiteboard. Paper also provided essay review services, with tutors reviewing students’ essays before they are turned in for a grade. Tutors checked for plagiarism, grammar, and if the student is staying on track.

In her experiences, Lucia De Thomas (10) said, “I find [these features] especially useful since I can send screenshots of the specific question I need help with, and the other features make the communication easier between me and the tutor.”

In a press release, SDPBC’s Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, Diana Fedderman, said, “To help students gain the foundational knowledge they may be missing, the District wanted to find a service that students could access support 24/7.”

Since the SDPBC’s decision to pivot to an online model of instruction, English language arts and math Florida Standards Assessment scores have dropped significantly.

In the 2018-2019 school year, 18.4 percent of Palm Beach County students earned a level one on their ELA FSA; however, in the 2020-2021 school year, 23.5 percent of students earned a level one, according to the Florida Department of Education.

Similarly in math, FLDOE found that in the 2018-19 school year, 18.8 percent of students at Suncoast earned a level five, but this dropped to 16.7 percent in the 2020-21 school year. It is the School District’s goal that students will be able to make up for the lost instruction time by using Paper as a back-up to in-school tutoring. Teachers and administrators had the ability to view students’ progress and activity on Paper.

De Thomas has started to use Paper more frequently. She stated that “…The only tutoring available on campus that I go to are the ones during lunch; however, I find lunch tutoring not very helpful due to the small time frames, and in general there’s too many people to be able to ask questions with a teacher one-on-one.” Paper had become a new method of tutoring for those who cannot stay after school.

However, Enzo Mosconi (10), who has since stopped using Paper, had less than desirable experiences on the platform. “Paper is a waste of the school’s money in my opinion. One time when I needed help studying right before a test I went onto the Paper service, however the tutor was rude and didn’t know the subject well […] He was even bad at doing homework questions correctly.”

Philip Cutler, founder and CEO of Paper was optimistic saying, “Through this partnership, we hope to empower students to become better readers and writers, achieve college and career success, and pursue lifelong learning,” in the same press release.

To access Paper, students logged in to the District Portal and search for “Paper Online Tutoring.” Alternatively, students also logged on to their Clever Portal.