Frequently Asked Questions - Saturday Program

FAQs - Saturday Program

The Saturday Program operates in the Medical Sciences Building (MSB) located on the University of Toronto St. George Campus at 1 Kings College Circle. For the first session, we will meet in the Stone Lobby in MSB for registration.

The selection of the student participants for the Saturday Program is organized by the TDSB based on particular educational criteria originally formulated in 1998 by the Saturday Program Coordinators. In the fall, Education Specialists invite teachers, guidance counselors and principals to identify students in grades 8 to 12 who fit the selection criteria and who are likely to benefit from the Program.

Students who were enrolled in the program in grade 8 and desire to return in a later grade are evaluated based on separate selection criteria assessed by their guidance counselors. Parents of selected students are invited to attend an information meeting, and both students and parents must agree to participate.

Teachers, guidance counselors and principals are PIVOTAL in identifying students for the Saturday Program. The following are the critical criteria that are used in guiding student selection.

The student should:

  • Be enrolled in grade 9 and 10 (or less frequently, 11 and 12) at a Toronto high school 
  • Be enrolled in grade 8 at a Toronto elementary school 
  • Require support in the core subjects of Math, Science, and/or English;
  • Have marks that are consistently below 70% in two or more of the core subject areas listed above;
  • Show little improvement in marks despite consistent effort.

Each participating high school student is matched with either one or two tutors from different disciplines or medical school years with an educational background similar to the area required by each student's specific needs. This design guarantees continuity in the student-mentor relationship throughout the program, allowing students and mentors to build rapport and develop relationships they can continue after the completion of the program.

In the past years  the volunteer tutors consist primarily of University of Toronto medical students. Now the tutors have come from increasingly diverse faculties, including students from business, engineering, arts, and other health professions.

All volunteers are required to attend a training session in January. This session will teach basic tutoring and rapport-building strategies, as well as outline what to do if any legal, personal or ethical issues arise over the course of the Program.

The Saturday Program operates for a 10-week period from January to April. There will be four weekends off: February 18 (Family Day), March 11, March 18 (March Break), and April 15 (Easter).

The dates for the 2016-2017 session are thus January 21 (Opening Ceremony), January 28, February 4, February 11, February 25, March 4, March 25, April 1, April 8 and April 22 (Closing Ceremony).

A typical Saturday morning (i.e. not opening or closing ceremonies) runs as follows:

Arrival (9:00 am-9:15 am): Tutors and tutees arrive, sign in, and head to their assigned teaching rooms. Hot beverages (Coffee, tea, hot chocolate) will be available to tutors and tutees.

Tutoring (9:30 am-11:00 am): Tutees are to come prepared with questions or homework from school that they wish to go over with their tutors. The subjects may range from Math to Science to English.

Group Activity/Workshop (11:00 am – 12:15 pm): The group activities provide an opportunity for students to interact with each other and the tutors in their room. The workshops are designed to introduce the students to a skill or subject area that is of interest to them. The Saturday Program this year has attempted to incorporate workshops from various disciplines to broaden the students’ ideas for career choices. Stay tuned for updates on this year's workshops!

Free Lunch (12:15 pm – 1:00 pm): We provide delicious, hot food!

We understand that sometimes last-minute emergencies can arise. To be an excused absence we require notification 24 hours prior to the session.  

If you are a volunteer tutor or a participating student who will be absent, please email us ASAP at: saturday.program@gmail.com or call 647-296-6322.

If you know your tutee will be away on any given Saturday, please let us know as early as possible. We will pair you with another tutee for that session. Please note that you are still expected to attend the session!

If your tutee hasn't shown up by 9:30am and you cannot reach him/her by phone, do not leave! Please speak with one of the co-directors in the Stone Lobby. We will pair you up with another tutee, or in some cases, have you assist with workshop preparation.

Please head to the Stone Lobby to pick up some worksheets; we have material for most subjects and grade levels.

Volunteers who wish to attend all 10 Saturdays may choose to both tutor and act as a core volunteer. We also welcome volunteer requests to lead and assist with workshops. If anyone has a workshop idea, submit a proposal and we will consider it for the next session. Also if volunteers want to help prior to the start of the program please contact us.  We will gladly take any contributions in any way we can.

The Saturday Program now has CCR (Co-Curricular Record) approval. In order to be eligible for CCR credit, volunteers must demonstrate professionalism and fulfill their original commitment to the Saturday Program: paired volunteers must attend 6/10 sessions, while full-time volunteers must attend all 10 sessions. Completion of an end-of-year survey is also required for CCR credit. If volunteers miss a session, they will have to make it up in order to receive and certificate.