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WHAT IS CITYTUTOR DC?
CityTutor DC serves as the coordinated coalition to provide high-impact tutoring to Washington, DC, students.
Founded in spring 2021, our coalition of 50+ members connects schools, community-based organizations, civic partners, and other committed stakeholders to accelerate learning for DC students through personalized, meaningful relationships with tutors.
CityTutor DC formed in response to the pandemic, which has disrupted two school years for more than 50 million students across the country. The result: Exacerbated systemic inequities that disproportionately impact students furthest from opportunity, including thousands of students here in DC. Without a coordinated solution, the potential education, health, and economic impacts to our region could be felt for generations to come.
Our coalition’s work is coordinated by CityBridge Education, a nonprofit that incubates the people, ideas, and conversations needed for equity-driven innovation in DC’s schools.
CityTutor DC is partnering with schools, tutoring providers, institutes of higher education, and civic partners to expand the scope and impact of quality tutoring opportunities for DC’s students. We aim to support 10,000 kindergarten through 8th grade public school students with high-impact tutoring. Learn more about our strategy.
What is High-Impact Tutoring?
High-impact tutoring (sometimes referred to as “high-dosage tutoring”) is a research-backed practice to substantially improve academic outcomes. High-impact tutoring is meant to supplement classroom learning and complement teacher curriculum: in a one-on-one or small group setting, a trained tutor and student meet frequently and consistently, typically with a focus on math or English.
Tutoring is considered one of the most effective evidence-based interventions for students. A review of nearly 200 studies found that high-impact tutoring can lead to larger learning gains in math and reading than other school-based interventions.
Although high-impact tutoring can take a variety of forms, to achieve the biggest benefit for students, CityTutor DC believes that all programs should meet as many of the following standards as possible:
BASED IN TRUST
Students who know their tutor cares about them will be more deeply engaged in teaching and learning. The care tutors show and trust they build fuels the motivation necessary for students to move forward academically.
FOCUSED ON TUTOR EFFECTIVENESS
Tutor knowledge, background, and preparation is critical—tutors must, therefore, be chosen, trained, and retained carefully. Tutors should have a solid grasp of the subject matter they are teaching, receive close supervision, and have access to opportunities for professional growth. As much as possible, tutors should reflect the communities they serve.
SUPPORTED BY HIGH-QUALITY CURRICULUM
The curriculum that tutors use with students should be aligned with state standards and grounded in high-quality research (particularly in areas such as early literacy). The course of study should be specifically designed for use by tutors, who may not have as much pedagogical content knowledge as classroom teachers.
Research has conclusively shown a connection between the intensity of tutoring—provided it meets other standards of quality—and its impact. Sessions lasting 60 minutes, occurring three times per week, over the course of at least three months have been proven most effective.
ORGANIZED IN SMALL GROUPS
Tutors should work with no more than four students at any given time. Research has found that a one-on-one student and tutor relationship, where possible, is most ideal.
Effective tutors have access to regular, high-quality assessment data so they can adjust their focus to meet the needs of each student. In addition to assessment data, tutoring efforts should incorporate other key data (such as attendance and student satisfaction) for continuous improvement.
COLLABORATIVE WITH SCHOOLS
Ideally, tutoring should be embedded within the student’s school. These deep partnerships between schools and tutoring providers enable tutors to connect with teachers and administrators to learn what supports their students need. Schools also increase equity of access—when they are open, school buildings are the place most likely for all students to be throughout the day. However, tutoring can take place in other settings, as long as efforts are made to connect what curriculum tutors are using to what students are learning in school.
A key aspect of our work is the creation and support of CityTutor Hubs. These Hubs serve as gathering spaces for students and trained tutors to build trusted partnerships as students grow in their academic achievement. CityTutor DC is providing funding, training, tools, and collaboration to ensure Hubs are successful and meet the needs of every student.
Learn more about our first round of CityTutor Hubs.
Our Design Sprints support schools and community-based organizations in designing and implementing high-impact tutoring in their daily work.
What is Involved
- Creating a new student schedule for scaled implementation
- Designing a plan to strengthen the implementation of strategies to accelerate and supplement academic learning
- Identifying and setting measurable student learning targets
- Conducting asynchronous work between weekly sessions
- Participating in a five-week learning series
- Supporting in designing an implementation plan
- Utilizing best practices and ongoing support for continuous improvement
- Building a community of like-minded leaders in DC charters and DC Public Schools
- Accessing qualified tutors to support school teams
Partners are currently participating in our third design sprint. Stay tuned for outcomes and next steps!
CityTutor DC is led by education professionals who share a commitment to the success of every student.
Our collaborative work is guided by an Advisory Group of DC experts whose vast knowledge and connections in the education and civic space shape the CityTutor DC vision and approach.