High schools to receive 1,000 hours of paid tutoring a week

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A millionaire commodities trader has organized a program to provide Memphis high schools with 1,000 hours of paid tutoring a week.

Charlie McVean teamed with Shelby County schools and the University of Memphis, where the tutors will be drawn from. McVean said his plan is enough to put tutors in 67 classes, five days a week. By May 13, 250 to 300 potential tutors from the University of Memphis had signed up.

"With three tutors in each classroom of roughly 30 students, you can divide the class into teams of 10 — each led by a tutor — reducing the student-teacher ratio from 1:29 to 7:1," he said.

The mandatory tutoring program will begin at East and Whitehaven high schools in the fall, The Commercial Appeal reported (http://bit.ly/1FmbIdM ). McVean is following an after-school tutoring model called Peer Power that he set up and funded at East High in 2005. Two years later, he added money for Whitehaven High. He says over 10 years he has given $10 million to the effort.

Superintendent Dorsey Hopson said principals will spend time with tutors during their summer training and match them to the right fit with the teacher.

"I really do believe if executed properly, it could be a game-changer," Hopson said. "I know both the principals are very excited."

McVean will pay tutors $11 an hour, for starters, with raises up to $12.50.

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