Get Help With Homework Online

The Fairfax County library system will offer free, live online homework help for students in fourth grade through early college beginning this month. To introduce students to the service, the library will hold pizza parties at several branches.

Tutors, including some who speak Spanish, will be available from 2 to 10 p.m. daily after the school year begins to answer questions about math, science, social studies and English. The service is a partnership between the county school and library systems.

Through a computer application, students and tutors can "discuss" homework problems and even draw diagrams and equations, library officials said in a news release.

"Help with homework is a major role for public libraries, and now we can add real-time tutors to our other resources," said library Director Edwin S. Clay III.

Access to the service is at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/library. Click on the "Live Homework Help" link and select a subject and grade level. Tutors are certified teachers, college professors, professional tutors, graduate students and undergraduates. They must complete a training program and are evaluated during the program. For dates and times of the pizza parties, check the library's Web site.

New 'Connections' to Better SOL Test Scores

The county school system has launched a database called Connections that supplies Internet links to more than 1,000 books that help kindergarten through sixth-grade students prepare for Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) tests.

Connections began as part of a grant-funded project to develop teaching strategies that can help homeless children. It was conceived by teachers from across Virginia working with Project HOPE-Virginia, coordinated by the College of William and Mary for the Virginia Department of Education.

The database and book selection process are now maintained by Fairfax County public schools. County teachers and librarians worked over the summer to revise and update the list; school district software engineers put the information into a searchable database.

Connections is at www.fcps.edu/cpsapps/connections/index.cfm.