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Tree Tutors bridges gap as school closures leave high school juniors and seniors in need of test prep

When Stanford University sent students home due to COVID-19 school closures, two students — Ben Fischer and Xaiver Martinez — found themselves with some time on their hands and an idea.

Fischer is from Israel and Martinez is from Seattle. The duo decided to create a tutoring company after schools in Seattle closed. Both students have siblings in high school being affected by school closures. COURTESY PHOTO: TREE TUTORS - Tree Tutors co-founder, Ben Fischer

They wanted to help high schoolers while also providing jobs to Stanford students who lost their jobs due to the university closing.

The two sent out information in the form of interest forms to student groups and mailing lists and received 300 inquiries.

The company — called Tree Tutors — now has 150 tutors offering help in 34 courses. COURTSEY PHOTO: TREE TUTORS - Tree Tutors co-founder Xaiver Martinez

Bella Meyn, a freshman at Stanford and Lake Oswego High School alum, was brought on as a tutor and then to the executive team to manage community outreach.

Meyn said each potential tutor is vetted with the help of an interest form and an interview process to ensure they've received the highest grade or score for the subject they wish to tutor in. She said they also take into account how recently potential tutors have been in a class on the subject they wish to tutor in.

"Stanford students are held to an extremely high standard," she said.

She said Tree Tutors is one of the most affordable options available. A one-on-one zoom session is $49 an hour. There is the option to do group tutoring, which minimizes the cost for the students.

The company is able to provide free sessions to students who qualify for free or reduced lunch or who demonstrate other financial needs through a scholarship fund. The fund is generated by their policy of buy-two-give-one, meaning for every two tutoring sessions purchased, the student donates a free hour of tutoring to someone else.

"This isn't just a tutoring company, it's a social service," Meyn said.

Tree Tutors launched a week ago and currently has two students receiving regular-priced tutoring and 15 on scholarship.

Currently, Tree Tutors is focusing on helping high schoolers but Meyn said middle schoolers are welcome to inquire as well.

"It's really a response to the COVID situation. This wouldn't have happened otherwise," Meyn said.

Visit the website for more information.


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