Online tutoring free for Lockport students

Oct. 6—The Lockport City School District is now offering free online tutoring to students between 7th and 12th grades through a partnership with Paper, an online tutoring company that is open 24/7, 365-days a year.

According to Rob LiPuma, director of technology, data security and communications, the decision came after he saw it at a professional conference and realized it could help students in the district. He said he had been hearing about the learning gap students faced for three-years during the pandemic, and that the data is showing that scores have dropped in English and math in Lockport schools.

"The state isn't lessening its regents' requirements," LiPuma said. "So, like anything, we have a goal ... and we'd like to get back on track."

LiPuma said that a ballpark figure for the cost of the program is under $20,000 and noted that the schools receive aid on purchases through the Niagara/Orleans BOCES program.

"That provides a substantial return when we invest in our students," he said in an email earlier Wednesday evening.

The program itself, according to a press release sent by the district, offers students the ability to log on and join a "chat-based platform" where they can problem-solve, get feedback on an essay or get support while studying for a test. LiPuma said that the name of the program, Paper, caught his attention and that he believed it started as a "paper evaluation" service and that aspect of its team has never gone away.

Teachers are also benefited, said the release, by gaining insight on what different students are struggling with in their daily lessons through monitoring their use of Paper.

On the school district's website at, the program is described more fully. Tutors are available anytime to chat in multiple languages and students can type in a question, upload a file — such as an writing assignment — and draw out a problem on the whiteboard provided.

Tutors also can give revisions on writing assignments within 24 hours.

"During the revision process, tutors highlight areas the student can improve and explain why," reads the website.

And there is more. Educational live video content is available for students to learn more after the school day has ended.

"Students can access this resource for free on their own Paper dashboards and participate in a variety of classes from astronomy to financial literacy," reads the website.

More can be found at