Safety at Schoolhouse
While we're excited to connect people around the world to help each other learn, we realize that this comes with risks that must be carefully addressed. Building a safe environment for our community to connect is our top priority. We want to be as transparent as we can about safety measures so that students, parents and teachers can feel confident in their decision to participate in the community.
Below, you'll find a summary of some of the key safety measures we use to protect our learners and tutors.
Tutor Vetting, Training, and Monitoring
- Application process - Volunteers must certify their mastery in at least one topic through our video-based certification process before they can apply to become a tutor. This ensures that they are serious about tutoring and helps us verify they have the basic communication skills and content mastery required. This certification requirement is only waived when we've verified through partnering organizations that a volunteer has extensive working knowledge of the subject area.
- Safety training - All tutors must complete a 60-minute training before they can run their first session, covering both our safety protocols and best practices of tutoring. As part of this training, tutors must proactively reflect on how they would handle sensitive safety issues, should they arise.
- Peer observation - An experienced tutor will attend one of a tutor's first sessions and provide them with targeted feedback. All tutors are also encouraged to attend each other's sessions to learn, share feedback, and flag any potential issues that arise.
- Session recording and review - All sessions are recorded and reviewed regularly by our tutor auditing team. Quality issues are escalated to our tutor mentor team, who step in to help coach tutors who need extra support. Safety issues are escalated to our safety team, who determine whether the behavior warrants a warning, an increase in monitoring, or full removal from the platform.
- Supervised in-platform communication - All text-based communication on the Schoolhouse platform is monitored by trained volunteers, including DMs between learners and tutors. Unsupervised DMs are only permitted between tutors and learners within Zoom sessions so students can privately share answers to prompts.
- Community reporting - All community members are encouraged to report any concerns they have with other members to our safety team. All flagged issues are carefully reviewed and dealt with in a timely manner.
- Transparency around new tutors - Learners are able to see how many sessions a tutor has taught, so they can choose a tutor with a level of experience that they are comfortable with.
- Learner application process - To minimize trolling, all learners must pass through a lightweight application process before joining sessions with other learners.
- Community guidelines - All community members are reminded of behavioral expectations during onboarding and before each session, and they're encouraged to report if they see anyone failing to meet these standards.
- Session management protocols - All tutors have the Zoom privileges necessary to mute or remove participants if any disruptive behavior arises. Tutor training involves learning a detailed protocol for dealing with any potential issues that may arise during sessions.
- Instant suspension of disruptive learners - If a learner is removed by a tutor due to distracting or inappropriate behavior in a session, their account is instantly frozen to prevent disruption in additional sessions until our safety team is able to investigate the incident.
If you have any questions, concerns or feedback, please reach out to our safety team at [email protected].