Back to the Basics

Student-run math tutoring program helps students across Shawnee Mission.


Marissa Pai

Math Buddies volunteer, junior Marissa Pai, tutors 5th grade student Ashlyn at Trailwood Elementary School.

About two dozen juniors and seniors participate in an elementary tutoring program called Math Buddies. They volunteer their afternoons or late start mornings to spend an hour helping 5th and 6th grade students with math.

For kids that struggle with math, these volunteers provide essential instruction and build students’ confidence. For accelerated students, such as those who participate in the program at Overland Park Carpenter Elementary, Math Buddies supplements their curriculum and prepares them to take a qualifying test to be placed in Algebra 1 in 7th grade.

Math Buddies is sponsored by NHS sponsor Travis Gatewood and is one of many opportunities for NHS members to earn service hours. NHS treasurer and senior Alexander Maret started the club last year.

“COVID threw off learning for a lot of kids,” Maret said, “so I wanted to be able to go back and help them.”

Each school can dictate what their tutoring program looks like. Volunteers might review class material, help students with their homework or teach lessons about new topics. The lessons, which include practice problems and supplemental videos from Khan Academy, are designed by Maret.

“It’s been really meaningful to see the kids get better at math because of our instruction,” Maret said. “Math Buddies is a rewarding experience and a friendly environment. I would encourage anyone to join.”