Back in the spring, a group of Boston Latin School students recognized that many elementary school children were then stuck at home due to the pandemic and needed help with their schoolwork, so they formed Docemus – a fledgling nonprofit that offers virtual one-on-one tutoring to any grade schooler at no cost.
“In the middle of the pandemic, we saw that organizations were being created that catered specifically to the elderly and obviously, that’s justifiable since they’re the ones pandemic is impacting the most,” said Ludovico Rollo, a 17-year-old high school senior, Exeter Street resident and the co-founding director of Docemus. “We also realized that the pandemic furthers the education gap, especially in our own public school system, and we realized the need for professional and helpful tutoring at a low cost – although ours is free – is higher now than ever before.”
Besides Rollo, the organization includes his classmates Luc Azar-Tanguay, a senior and the co-founder, and seniors Xiangan He, Brando Palmarini and Levi Mattison, as well as junior William Hu, and offers individualized academic tutoring to students in the third through eighth grades in all subjects, including ESL, on a flexible schedule set by the students and their respective tutors.
So far, 20 students have been paired with tutors, Rollo said, based on matching the children’s individual academic needs with each tutor’s personal strengths. The tutors are all selected from the top high schools and colleges nationwide and thoroughly vetted, including undergoing a background check, an interview, a scenario test and, if necessary, tests on the subjects they plan to tutor, before they are accepted to the program.
Docemus also offers high school students the opportunity to serve as tutors, Rollo said, which can count as the public service hours required for graduation by many admission-based high schools, like Boston Latin.
Over the summer, the program shifted its focus to creating a library of audio books for titles that appear on elementary-school summer reading-lists, which can be found on Docemus’s YouTube channel.
“As summer was coming to end, we began bringing back our focus on tutoring pairs,” Roll said, “and we hope to establish ourselves all over Boston, and in Massachusetts and [beyond], in the near future.”
To learn more about Docemus, including how to sign up for a tutor, sign up as one or donate to the program, visit www.docemus.org.