Math tutoring

Ketchikan High School math teachers, from left Deidra Nuss, Joey Fama, Evan Raber, Jennifer Karlik and Terri Whyte, pose with a sign touting Kayhi's math tutoring center. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Karlik

Ketchikan High School's math wing bustles with activity most days, even after regular classes are done for the day.

The source of the flurry is the school's in-house math tutoring center, which got its start at Kayhi about two academic years ago, but is back and getting plenty of use in the 2020-21 school year, according to Jennifer Karlik.

Karlik, a Kayhi math teacher, spoke with the Daily News telephonically about the tutoring center during her class prep period on Monday morning.

Karlik explained that the tutoring center switches between the classrooms of five math teachers — herself, Evan Raber, Terri Whyte, Joey Fama and Deidra Nuss.

The center is open from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday, with a different teacher each day.

"The kids, they flock (to the math wing) and they look to see which one it is today," Karlik said.

The center sees students from every grade during its operating hours.

"We get anywhere from five to 15 kids every day," Karlik noted.

The students are seeking assistance with subjects "anywhere from Algebra 1 all the way up to calculus," Karlik said.

The tutoring center doesn't function like a typical classroom — instead it focuses on the needs of individual learners.

"We don't, like, stand up and teach to everybody, we just kind of go around to each individual kid and see what they need help with," Karlik said. "It's not like a presentation like in the classroom. It's just helping kids individually, one at a time."

According to Karlik, the tutoring opportunities help keep students encouraged while continuing to work on independent assignments.

"It's kind of hard sometimes, when you go home and try to do your homework all by yourself," Karlik explained. "You get stuck and you get frustrated, so it's just a really nice place to sit and work on your homework and get help when you get stuck."

The center sees the most activity in the days immediately leading up to a big test.

"They also use it a lot to study for their tests," Karlik commented.

Even though the math help takes place after classroom hours, Karlik said she has noticed improvements in her classroom.

"When a student's on top of it and they're keeping up with their homework and keeping up with their work, they tend to do better and feel better in class," Karlik explained. "It doesn't feel good to not know what's going on. It feels really good when you've got your homework done, and you got it, and you understood."

"It doesn't feel good to be behind," she said.

Karlik also said that something unrelated to math has "blossomed" at the center.

"(Students are) working together, and that's always, always, good for education," Karlik said.