Monticello students, alumni create website to help students with tutoring

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It's a balancing act many parents now find themselves doing daily: juggling work from home and helping their kids with distance learning.

Now, parents and students in one Minnesota school district are getting some much needed help.

Monticello high school graduate Grace Schillewaert, senior Ally Frickel and four others created Monticello Education Connection, a nonprofit website offering free virtual tutoring to K-12 students.

"It operates much like if you were booking a haircut, so you go on, you choose your day, you choose your time and it shows you all the tutors that are available," said Schillewaert.

Once matched up, the tutor and student connect via Google Hangout. So far, 70 volunteers have applied, gone through district background checks and are ready to go.

"It brings help to all those students who might not get it otherwise through this free tutoring platform," said Frickel.

The site also has community service projects lined up next week, like a letter drive for senior citizens and a book drive for the district's 4,000 students.

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"There will be buses parked in six locations collecting books on three different days, collecting books and letters on three different days," said Frickel.

The students presented to the school board Tuesday night.

"The pride we have in their willingness to re-invest in us speaks volumes as to who they are," said John Reeves, Assistant Principal at Monticello High School.

District leaders said from legal issues to privacy concerns, the students covered everything.

"This has the opportunity to go big," Monticello Superintendent Eric Olson said.

Right now, the focus is on their district, but the students think it could help many others.

"Hopefully, we can get this to be a larger platform that could reach across the state," Schillewaert added.

"'Shark Tank' look out, because the Monticello High School alumni and current students, they're coming," said Olson.

The website will officially launch at 8 a.m. Thursday morning.