What is high-impact tutoring?
High-impact tutoring (sometimes referred to as high-dosage tutoring) is a proven way to accelerate and enhance student learning and well-being. It begins with tutors establishing strong connections with young people, as students who know their tutor cares about them will be more deeply engaged in teaching and learning. It also means working to ensure tutor effectiveness by carefully selecting, training, and managing tutors. Tutors should have a rigorous curriculum to work with. And tutoring has to be at “just-right” level of intensity — running at least 90 minutes a week for 2-3 months, in small groups of four or smaller. To learn more, check out our standards for high-impact tutoring.
Why are you focused on tutoring rather than other things that can strengthen our schools (like teacher pay)?
There are a lot of things that our community has to do right by its education system — better teacher pay, school safety, creating nurturing environments, just to name a few. Luckily, the federal government is stepping up to help. But given how much it can support student learning, high-impact tutoring should be part of the mix. From what we have learned from the research and our own experience, forging partnerships between schools and tutoring providers can be difficult. That’s where CityTutor DC comes in, building the coalition and connecting partners to increase capacity for high-impact tutoring to work on behalf of young people.
In what ways is tutoring helpful to classroom teachers?
Good tutoring can make teachers’ jobs easier and enable them to be more creative. For example, students who, with the help of a tutor, learn how to read confidently can readily participate in class discussions about books they’re reading in class. Students who get a solid conceptual foundation in math with the help of a tutor can work with their classmates on interesting projects where they apply math concepts to real-world situations. And tutors can share important information with teachers about the progress their students are making — such as what kinds of activities get individual students excited to learn.
I want to become a tutor. How do I get connected to someone?
There are many ways to get involved. CityTutor DC is partnering with the DC Tutoring and Mentoring Initiative to recruit and place volunteers throughout DC. Complete a short application on their website here. Other tutoring providers may be recruiting full-time, paid tutors. Please visit their CityTutor DC provider profiles to see their websites and any employment opportunities.
I am a parent/family member of a DC student. How do I get a tutor for my child?
You can always ask your school administrators about tutoring opportunities they provide and whether your student qualifies. On each provider profile, you can see if your student’s school is listed as a partner for tutoring if the school is using a CityTutor provider. And the DC Tutoring and Mentoring Initiative has a webpage where you can sign up to get a tutor or a mentor for someone in your family.
Is this available to all DC students, or just certain young people in a particular ward, school, or age group?
CityTutor DC coalition members work with students in any part of the city. We focus on students who are deemed at-risk — students whose families are receiving public assistance, who are in foster care, or who are experiencing homelessness — as these are some of the students most impacted by the pandemic. We’ve chosen to focus on two subjects: early literacy and middle school math. Research has shown early reading is so important to future school success, and middle school math data shows that students need intensive support in this subject.
I am a school leader. How do I get connected with an organization or group that will provide tutors for our students?
What are CityTutor Hubs? If I lead a community-based organization, can I apply to become a Hub?
CityTutor Hubs are partnerships with community-based organizations to provide high-impact tutoring outside of schools. Each of the six Hubs will provide tutoring to 50 or more students in SY 2021-22. We will be announcing these initial hubs in September. While we are not taking any additional applications for CityTutor Hubs at this time, we may do so next spring for SY 2022-23.
Can I implement tutoring in my own classroom or program?
Of course! Our standards for high-impact tutoring are a good place to start in thinking about the building blocks for high-impact tutoring. And SAGA Education, one of the most prominent tutoring organizations in the country, has set up SAGA Coach, which provides more detailed guidance as to what a good tutoring program looks like.
Do you do work outside of Washington, DC?
We’re squarely focused on students within the District’s borders.
What value is CityTutor DC adding?
For starters, DC does not yet have enough high-impact tutoring opportunities to meet the needs of the pandemic, particularly in middle school math. The funding we’re providing helps build capacity of our tutoring providers to partner with schools in a way that is aligned to the research on effective and impactful tutoring. CityTutor DC will also be recruiting national providers to open DC branch offices. Tutoring is most effective when it’s integrated in schools, but in some cases offering tutoring means schools must make adjustments to their schedules and operations. We support school leaders in this redesign and change management process.
CityTutor DC is also partnering with community-based organizations to offer tutoring, as we know some students will gain the most from tutoring outside of school. We are also building networks and communities of practice so that schools, tutoring organizations, and community-based organizations can learn from one another.
What is the background of the tutors?
The organizations we’re working with are drawing tutors from a wide variety of backgrounds. Some of the organizations provide virtual tutors who are experienced teachers from all over the country. Some of the organizations recruit and train tutors from the ranks of local colleges and universities. Some draw volunteers from within the communities of the schools they serve. Others still get their tutors from AmeriCorps and national service organizations. We are looking to build a robust tutoring force with diverse backgrounds to serve the students of the city.
Do you pay for tutoring costs at the school/provider organization?
The federal government’s American Rescue Plan relief funding provided over $40M over three years to help DC schools pay for tutoring. CityTutor DC is paying some of the costs of tutoring with philanthropic funds but is primarily focused on creating the supply and infrastructure for tutoring, and building school-level capacity to make lasting partnerships using their recovery funding for student acceleration.