Boston – September 16, 2020 – The Boston Public Library today announced that the Homework Assistance Program (HAP, formerly known as Homework Help) will begin on September 21, 2020 and continue throughout the school year until May 14, 2021. HAP is a free program offering homework help and mentorship by trained high-achieving high school students. Session will take place Mondays – Thursdays, 3:30-5:30 p.m. and are open to all students in grades K-8 on a drop-in basis. HAP will start on Zoom and will be a virtual program indefinitely.
“As we embark on an unprecedented school year, BPL is dedicated to helping Boston students succeed,” said BPL President David Leonard. “HAP is designed to open up a supportive dialogue between mentors and mentees, bridge the digital divide to provide accessible homework support, and create a welcoming environment for younger students as they navigate these unique times.”
"BPS is incredibly appreciative of our partners at the Boston Public Library for facilitating the Homework Assistance Program, which allows some of our older BPS students to mentor, support and assist our younger learners during this very different and often challenging period in their education,” said BPS Superintendent Brenda Cassellius. “The neighborhood-based approach to this program will help to build community, will foster stronger relationships among our students, and allows further sharing of virtual learning skills and resources within the community."
To reach students across the Boston community, there will be four Zoom calls representing neighborhoods in Boston that students will be able to join. This will allow students to meet with the mentors they would regularly be working with at the branch closest to them. The Zoom groups are: Group 1: Brighton, Honan-Allston, East Boston, South End; Group 2: Connolly, Egleston Square, Parker Hill, Roxbury; Group 3: Jamaica Plain, Hyde Park, Mattapan, West Roxbury; and Group 4: Codman Square, Fields Corner, Grove Hall, Lower Mills, Uphams Corner. Links to Zoom calls will be available on September 21st at bpl.org/homework.
There will be 56 homework assistance mentors in grades 10-12, all trained by the BPL to aid students in grades K-8. The mentors will work with their mentees on school assignments, and, as social distancing continues, provide support and advice for younger students as they transition to virtual and hybrid learning models. This year, Boston Public Schools are beginning the school year remotely, and families are able to opt into a hybrid learning plan starting in October, balancing in-person and online learning.
The Boston Public Library and Mayor Walsh also launched two new digital initiatives earlier this month to help students bridge the remote learning digital divide. The Public Computer Access program allows teens (and adults) to sign up for a two-hour appointment to use library computers in a socially distanced space within the Central Library in Copley Square. The Outdoor Wi-Fi Program provides 24-hour outdoor internet access at nine BPL branch locations across the city, allowing students to socially distance while accessing the Internet for free.
To learn more about the Homework Assistance Program, and other online homework help resources, visit bpl.org/homework.