Checking in with QuaranTeam Tutors


Natalia Nervi, Print EIC

The world as we know it shut down in March 2020 with the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools shut down indefinitely, posing a serious problem to students who relied on in school resources–including help from teachers and tutoring sessions–to get extra help. 

Juniors Marin Brace, Ariel Burman and Avery Burman recognized the severity of this situation and came up with a solution: an online peer tutoring program using high school student volunteers called QuaranTeam Tutors. Now, more than one year after starting QauaranTeam Tutors, Brace and the Burmans reflect on the program’s success. 


How did QuaranTeam Tutors come about?


Marin Brace: We started Quaranteam Tutors in April of 2020, shortly after students were sent home from school as a result of the pandemic. We began by reaching out to those around us and surveying them to see if remote help would be something a lot of people would be interested in. When we found out the potential level of interest, we became incredibly excited to introduce our program to the public. We initially reached out to people across districts (Westfield, SPF, private schools etc.) To reach a larger audience we decided to reach out to local principals in hopes they would introduce our program to their students and parents. This is how we got in touch with Ms. Esposito, one of the assistant principals at SPFHS. She helped us expand our program to all the schools within the district and recruit volunteer tutors from different grades within our school. 


What kind of preparation went into starting this program?


Avery Burman: Once we decided to start the program, we advertised on Instagram to gain high school tutors as volunteers and contacted individual students who we thought would be strong tutors. We also advertised on Facebook to let parents in the community know that we were available to help. We emailed the principals of the elementary and middle schools to let them know about the tutoring program in order to find students that might be in need of our support. That is how Mrs. Esposito at the high school got involved. The elementary and middle school principals reached out to her and she contacted us to ask if we wanted to run the program through the high school. We accepted her offer and established QuaranTeam Tutors as a club at our high school. The program grew as elementary and middle school teachers and guidance counselors referred students to us. In addition, we have advertised the program through Dr. Heisey and the guidance counselors which has been a great resource for attracting tutors. 


Why did you start QuaranTeam Tutors?


Marin Brace: Quaranteam Tutors was inspired by the school related adversity that all families faced throughout the pandemic. We had actually talked about starting a tutoring program prior to the pandemic and when presented with the virtual learning imposed by the pandemic, we realized this was the perfect opportunity to do so. We were fulfilling a need since we were offering services at no cost while families were struggling and also we were familiar with the specific curriculum in our district that would be beneficial to younger students. We also knew that there were many other high school students like ourselves who wanted to find ways to help during the pandemic so we could reach more students that way. 


My personal experiences contributed to my motivation to be involved in the development of the program because I have a younger sibling who struggled to adapt to remote learning. The three of us knew there were many kids facing similar challenges and we needed to take action. 


What have you been able to achieve so far?


Ariel Burman: Since its founding in April 2020, QuaranTeam Tutors has grown immensely. 

QuaranTeam Tutors has engaged more than 90 high school students to serve as tutors and we have provided over 800 tutoring hours to district elementary and middle school students. We are on track to tutor over 1000 hours through the end of the 2020-2021 school year.


As the pandemic has evolved, has QuaranTeam Tutors evolved in any way? 


Avery Burman: At the beginning of the pandemic, we had only engaged a few students and tutors who were conducting tutoring sessions over Zoom. After the club was brought into the highschool, we became much more organized. Now we have over 90 tutors and over 80 students and we run tutoring sessions using Google Meet through the district platform. There is a lot of record keeping that is involved with tracking volunteer hours, communicating with tutors and parents, and setting up the meeting times. Our tutors cover a wide array of topics from math, reading and other academic topics, to organizational skills and general mentoring.


What do you hope to achieve in the future? 


Ariel Burman: We plan to continue QuaranTeam Tutors next year and hope the program will continue in the future. Even though school will not be virtual, we have discovered that virtual tutoring is a valuable tool that can be used to support many students at any time. In addition to the virtual tutoring component, next year we hope to add in-person homework support in the after school programs at the district elementary and middle schools.


Have you received any kind of recognition for QuaranTeam Tutors? (articles written about it, awards, etc)


Marin Brace: Yes! We had an article written about on TapInto Scotch Plains, which is the local news website. We also have received numerous positive emails from parents who have children involved in the program. Furthermore, we were invited to a Board of Education (BOE) meeting in which we gave a presentation detailing the purpose of QuaranTeam tutors and the action steps we have taken to achieve our purpose. We were recognized by the BOE in this meeting and sent a letter thanking us for our participation and overall positive impact on the community. 


Are you accepting new volunteers/students? If yes, how can people sign up?


Marin Brace: Yes! We are currently unsure if our program will continue to run over the summer but we are always looking for new volunteers and students. The principal of SPFHS has sent out an email to the whole student body with an interest form students can fill out to become a tutor. If this form is difficult to find, interested students can always reach out to our administrator email ([email protected]) or one of the club founders’ school emails.

Avery ([email protected]

Ariel ([email protected] )

Marin ([email protected] )


For interested parents or younger students interested in being tutored, [email protected] is the email to contact. Do not hesitate to ask questions or express interest! Our school emails do not receive emails outside of district so if you have an out of district email do not try to contact us through those emails!