Digital tutoring platform says students working remotely could benefit from its support

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — As remote learning continues for many school kids — and in the case of Chicago Public Schools, no learning at all as teachers and district officials negotiate over COVID-19 safety protocols — online tutoring is helping some students keep pace.

Philip Cutler is CEO and co-founder of Paper, a Canadian-based digital tutoring platform that has been in business for several years, and is busier than ever these days with tutors available for free "online chats" 24/7.

"This is something that the pandemic has highlighted the need for, there's no question, with students being remote,” Cutler, a former teacher, told WBBM Newsradio.

Paper worked with students across the country, including roughly 25 districts it has partnered with across Illinois. Of the Illinois districts, five are in Cook County and include Franklin Park, Bremen High School District and North Shore School District.

“It really is something that I think every district is starting to think about. Five or six years ago, we didn't have the technology in schools that allowed something like this to be rolled out as broadly as it has been,” Cutler explained. “Now with devices and network infrastructure and connectivity, and all of these problems more or less solved, and we've had to solve them over the last couple of years, it makes something like Paper accessible to everybody.”

And, Cutler said CPS has the company’s number.

"We've had conversations in the past with them. Right now we don't have a partnership with CPS, we do have the ability to support all of those students....we support more than two million students nationally,” he said.

Cutler acknowledged "it has been a difficult couple of years for the education system" and a service like Paper "helps level the playing field for everybody. It's not just wealthy parents can pay for to get that extra tutoring. Now everybody has that same access."

He said this is especially true for students who work remotely.

"There's an increased need for resources that can support students at all hours. Everybody is sort of working around the clock now,” Cutler said.

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