Sage Hill School sisters create tutoring tool to match ‘gurus’ with ‘newbies’

Twins Miya, left, and Hana Stauss, 15-year-old sophomores at Sage Hill School in Newport Coast, have created Peer Genius, a free tutoring website and app intended to match students needing academic help with students who can provide it.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Twin sisters from Sage Hill School are creating a free website and app to help fellow students connect with peers for academic tutoring.

Hana and Miya Stauss call their product Peer Genius.

In an interview at Sage Hill in Newport Coast, the 15-year-old sophomores said the project is a work in progress and that they’re constantly learning along the way. A pilot version should be ready in coming weeks, they said.

When complete, Peer Genius will connect “gurus,” or kids proficient in particular school subjects, with “newbies,” or students seeking tutoring. The pilot version will connect Sage Hill students with kids in Santa Ana.

The sisters said they’re trying to make the site fun. “And we’re hoping to inspire kids to foster their love of teaching to other kids,” Hana said.

Miya said the site also will help students fulfill their community service requirements.

The sisters said they too could benefit from Peer Genius.

Hana, who is a student ambassador and plays volleyball for Sage Hill, is a guru in math and chemistry but a newbie in social studies.

Miya, a tennis player and founder of a coding club at Sage Hill, is the opposite: a guru in social studies but a newbie in science.

Peer Genius was created with the help of a grant up to $5,000 from the Dragon Kim Foundation, or DKM, a Tustin-based group that helps children pursue their passions in academics, athletics and the arts.

The foundation is named after a 14-year-old Tustin boy who died in 2015 after a tree branch fell on him in Yosemite National Park. The nonprofit has helped connect the Stausses with developers who are assisting with their creation. The girls’ parents are chipping in with budget planning.

“We love our DKM family,” Miya said. “It’s just amazing what we’ve learned through the foundation.”

Twitter: @BradleyZint