Elevating Student Learning with Tiered Intervention and High-Impact Tutoring

Elevating Student Learning with Tiered Intervention and High-Impact Tutoring

Education systems continuously evolve, seeking to optimize student learning and ensure that every child reaches their fullest potential. Among these evolving strategies, the integration of tiered intervention via Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) with high-impact tutoring is a clear path towards a more equitable future for K-12. In September of 2023 the National Student Support Accelerator (NSSA) released an in-depth brief on the benefits, challenges, and most effective action steps related to properly integrating High-Impact-Tutoring with MTSS. The following is a primer on the brief.

What is High-Impact Tutoring

The NSSA defines high-impact tutoring as tutoring that enhances student learning without replacing classroom instruction. Its key features include:

  • Regular tutoring sessions, ideally more than 30 minutes per week.
  • Strong, ongoing relationships between tutors and students.
  • Continuous assessment of student progress and tailored instruction.
  • Consistency with what students learn in school.
  • Regular training and support for tutors to ensure quality.

In short: High-impact tutoring is intensive, tailored, and aligned with classroom teachings.

The efficacy of this tutoring isn’t universal; it hinges on the right implementation. Research reveals that the tutoring’s impact is maximized when specific features and methodologies are applied with utmost fidelity. More on HIT here.

What is MTSS and Tiered Intervention?

MTSS or Multi-Tiered Systems of Support is a holistic framework adopted by districts to provide tailored support to students based on their individual needs. The essence of tiered intervention lies in its ability to cater to students at various tiers of academic competence, ensuring no student is left behind.

By relying on data, MTSS identifies and tracks struggling students, offering insights into effective interventions. Furthermore, its collaborative essence fosters unity among teachers, administrators, and other stakeholders, ensuring optimal student support. The rising adoption of MTSS in some districts may also be driven by state or federal mandates, a push to elevate specific academic outcomes, or a focus on addressing social-emotional student needs.

Why Marry MTSS with High-Impact Tutoring

When high-impact tutoring is infused into MTSS, districts witness:

  • Enhanced student outcomes: The combined effect of structured support from MTSS and the tailored, evidence-based methods of high-impact tutoring leads to significant learning gains.
  • Implementation ease: Challenges inherent to introducing new systems are minimized, thanks to the cohesiveness of this integrated approach.
  • Streamlined operations: The dual systems, when working in tandem, eliminate redundancies and pave the way for smoother school operations.
  • Instructional coherence: Aligning the objectives of both systems ensures that students receive a consistent and unified learning experience.

Steps to Successful Integration

Successful integration demands coordinated efforts at multiple levels:

  • State level: Review and, if necessary, amend conflicting guidelines in existing state policies to make room for this integrated approach
  • District level: Clearly define the scope of integration and set expectations for its seamless implementation
  • School level: Ensure that the practices are implemented with unwavering fidelity

The Clock is Ticking

Although states now have a path to file an extension on ESSER funding, the time is ripe for educational agencies to bolster their support systems. Embedding high-impact tutoring within tiered intervention is more than just an effective strategy—it’s an opportunity to bridge learning gaps, foster equity, and elevate educational outcomes.  Yet, success doesn’t come on a silver platter. It demands meticulous planning, strategic resource allocation, and continuous monitoring.

Dive Deeper

If you would like to explore more about the power of combining MTSS and high-impact tutoring? Discover benefits, delve into action steps, and glean insights from successful implementations at studentsupportaccelerator.org.

Steps to Successful Integration

Successful integration demands coordinated efforts at multiple levels:

  • State level: Review and, if necessary, amend conflicting guidelines in existing state policies to make room for this integrated approach
  • District level: Clearly define the scope of integration and set expectations for its seamless implementation
  • School level: Ensure that the practices are implemented with unwavering fidelity

The Clock is Ticking

Although states now have a path to file an extension on ESSER funding, the time is ripe for educational agencies to bolster their support systems. Embedding high-impact tutoring within tiered intervention is more than just an effective strategy—it’s an opportunity to bridge learning gaps, foster equity, and elevate educational outcomes.  Yet, success doesn’t come on a silver platter. It demands meticulous planning, strategic resource allocation, and continuous monitoring.

Dive Deeper

If you would like to explore more about the power of combining MTSS and high-impact tutoring? Discover benefits, delve into action steps, and glean insights from successful implementations at studentsupportaccelerator.org.

Breaking Down the 3 Benefits of District Partnerships in Higher Education

Breaking Down the 3 Benefits of District Partnerships in Higher Education

Across the nation, Community Partnerships are forming, where HigherEd institutions partner with local K/12 school districts to provide evidence-based tutoring to younger students in their backyard. These partnerships offer states and districts an interesting alternative to traditional, for-profit tutoring partnerships. These community partnerships offer 3 unique advantages that could lead to a greater impact on student success than traditional tutoring programs and a more sustainable tutoring model. 

  1. If designed correctly, these partnerships can help improve the academic achievement of K/12 students. Providing access to high-impact tutoring, which meets the standards set forth by the National Student Support Accelerator, gives students the individualized support they need to succeed in school and mitigate learning loss. This can help close the achievement gap and ensure that all students have an equal opportunity to succeed.
  1. These partnerships can provide valuable professional development opportunities for university students interested in careers in education and create a pipeline of talent for local districts. By participating in tutoring programs, university students can gain hands-on experience working with K/12 students and can develop the skills and knowledge they need to become effective educators. They will also build relationships with local principals and superintendents, leading to career opportunities in the schools and inevitably addressing the teacher shortage. Deans For Impact is a non-profit that is focusing on these partnerships and has developed specific training content for future educators who are participating in community-tutoring partnerships. 
  1. Last but certainly not least, these local partnerships between universities and local school districts can foster a sense of pride and ownership within the community. By working together to support the academic success of K/12 students, universities and schools can demonstrate their commitment to the local community and can help build stronger, more supportive relationships with families and other community members. Because both the university and district are in the same town/region, these programs can provide more culturally relevant instruction and mentorship to their students. We see this in the state of Virginia, where Urban Leagues are partnering with HBCUs to provide academic mentorship to students in local districts. This approach can help create a sense of shared responsibility for student success.

Overall, these sustainable partnerships between universities and local school districts can provide a wide range of benefits for K/12 students, university students, and the community as a whole. By providing evidence-based tutoring and other support, such partnerships can help improve academic achievement, develop a talent pipeline for future teachers, and create a more collaborative, supportive learning environment for all students.

Tutoring Program Designs Addressing The COVID Education Recovery

Tutoring Program Designs Addressing The COVID Education Recovery

Various tutoring approaches are being implemented across the US to address learning loss.  The most common are high-impact tutoring, on-demand tutoring (sometimes referred to as homework help), and a hybrid model in which certain students in a program receive scheduled high-impact tutoring and the general student population has access to opt-in on-demand academic support. 

High-Impact-Tutoring (also sometimes referred to as High-Dosage-Tutoring)

A high-impact-tutoring model optimally leverages the NSSA’s “Tutor Quality Improvement System (TQIS) and include “substantial time each week of required tutoring, sustained and strong relationships between students and their tutors, close monitoring of student knowledge and skills, alignment with school curriculum, and oversight of tutors to assure quality interactions.”  Although this model has strong examples that are grant based and self administered at the state or district level, it can also be outsourced to a tutoring vendor. 

On-Demand Tutoring (also sometimes referred to as Homework Help)

24/7 access to tutors via chat and whiteboard across all key subjects is the most popular style of on-demand tutoring.  On-demand homework help (or as-needed academic assistance) allows students to meet with tutors as needed, often in a short time frame (like 10-15 minutes) to discuss something they do not understand – usually related to preparing for a test or completing homework (often due the next day).  Curriculum or learning management systems are not usually required in this model, although tools aligned with specific approaches may be used. Most often, this model is outsourced to an outside tutoring company, but some examples of this model are found in community tutoring partnerships, such as Dakota Dreams in South Dakota. 

Combining High-Impact-Tutoring and On-demand Tutoring (Hybrid)

On-demand homework help and high-impact tutoring are combined in the final model. In the early stages of exploring this hybrid model, vendors are scheduling out high-impact tutoring as usual but also giving students the option to receive on-demand help in other subjects online. Furthermore, on-demand access is being explored across an entire district in the same environment where high-impact tutoring is taking place. 

Deciding on Your Approach

An effective tutoring program should not be developed based on a best guess or someone’s perception of what is possible.  The design of a successful tutoring program should be based on logic.  According to the National Student Support Accelerator’s (NSSA) toolkit for program design, any tutoring program should outline: needs, inputs, actions, outputs, and impact. 

Needs: what needs the program address?

Inputs: what goes into the program?

Actions: what actions does the program take?

Outputs: what happens as a result of those actions?

Impact: What are the benefits of participating in the program?

Based on the logic model and clear definition of each component of the model, stakeholders can design a program for the desired outcome.  

What Is a Virtual Classroom?

What Is a Virtual Classroom?

The recent COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of virtual classrooms across the globe but what exactly is a virtual classroom? The concept of remote learning has evolved significantly over the years with the rise of affordable personal computers and internet service. These days, students of all ages from anywhere in the world can easily engage in learning activities within their own home thanks to the rise of virtual classrooms and virtual classroom software like Pearl. 

Just like traditional classrooms, a virtual classroom utilizes a trained educator to share information and knowledge with one or more pupils. 

A virtual classroom is still a classroom — it simply doesn’t require anyone to be there physically! Instead, participants meet online by using webcams, microphones, and an intermediary software program. 

While the role of the teacher is obviously indispensable, the virtual classroom software used is also critical. Why does the virtual classroom software platform matter? To answer that, we need look no further than recent K-12 experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

To minimize exposure risk, schools around the country issued students devices so they could learn from home. However, many K-12 districts soon discovered that student engagement lagged during the remote lessons, leading to significant learning loss. This was due, in part, to the overuse of no-frills video-teleconferencing software like Zoom, instead of educational software specifically designed to bolster the remote learning experience. 

An empty room isn’t automatically a “classroom,” and a student’s mere attendance, be it physical or virtual, doesn’t mean they’re prepared to learn. Experienced teachers know that to effectively teach a subject, a suitable learning environment has to be established first. Teachers must take the spaces they’re given and transform them into learning environments, then find creative ways to grab and hold student attention, elicit responses, and keep them engaged. 

Video conferencing apps like Zoom give teachers nothing to work with, but tutoring software like Pearl offers teachers a features-packed virtual classroom specifically designed to boost student participation. Tutoring platforms like Pearl dramatically reduce the effort teachers have to put into transforming their virtual classroom into a proper learning environment. Instead, they can focus all their attention on the actual teaching part of their job.  

Made for online educators by online educators, Pearl’s virtual classrooms offer all the bells and whistles educators want, plus many handy administrative features as well. 

With Pearl, tutors can: 

  • Easily share materials, including documents, slides, or videos 
  • Pull up virtual whiteboards that let participants write or draw (providing a valuable layer of physicality in a virtual setting)
  • Share screens to quickly display content students need to view live in-class
  • Record screens to capture tutoring session elements for later review

Pearl is much more than a virtual classroom platform, though. Pearl also offers helpful scheduling features that allow tutors to view and manage their lessons at a glance and even send out session reminders to students. Furthermore, user management functions make it a breeze to keep things organized from one control panel. There’s even a storefront for teachers who offer professional tutoring services and need to manage client payments. 

As educators, we created Pearl because we saw a need for an all-in-one tutoring software to help educators do their jobs better in this era of hybrid and online learning. Naturally, when tutors have the tools they need, they can better serve students who’ve suffered a tremendous learning loss due to the disruption caused by COVID-19. 

If you’ve ever dreamed of a remote learning platform that can “virtually” do it all, Pearl might make your dream come true! Get in touch with us today to learn more about how you can manage and grow your tutoring business.

10 Benefits of Hybrid Learning

10 Benefits of Hybrid Learning

Hybrid learning (and blended learning) are education buzzword that we’ve heard a lot since the COVID-19 pandemic began. In our last blog post, we explored what hybrid learning means, how it’s different from blended learning, and how educators can adopt it in their classroom. Now, to better understand how this education phenomenon became so wildly popular, we’re breaking down the top 10 benefits of adopting the hybrid learning model: 

1. Hybrid learning offers continued learning during periods of disruption

Hybrid learning is flexible and convenient, enabling continued educational services during times of disruption such as during the current COVID-19 pandemic, but also during periods of sporadic student illness, inclement weather, or when travel requirements pull teachers, tutors, or students away from their standard settings.  

2. Hybrid learning provides a safer learning experience during the pandemic 

Hybrid learning isn’t a novel education model, but the pandemic accelerated its adoption around the world. An opportunity to conduct learning from a distance enhances the health and safety of students and educators, reducing exposure to the Coronavirus all while enabling convenient access from almost any Internet-enabled computer or mobile device via applicable video-conferencing and edtech tools like Pearl.

3. With hybrid learning, students can learn from anywhere

Such incredible access would have been considered impossible only a decade or two ago, but today, educators are harnessing the power of technology to improve the access to education for students with geographic, transportation or other barriers. The key to hybrid teaching for instructors is selecting the right educational software packed with all the handy features you need! 

4. Hybrid learning is cost-effective 

Operating a brick-and-mortar teaching establishment comes with a heavy price tag. From building maintenance to utilities and supply costs, it takes considerable overhead to pay for physical institutions and settings. Remote learning, even if only done part-time via hybrid learning, can help reduce such expenses. 

There’s also the advantage of diminished liability in the event of on-site student mishaps, incidents, or illnesses, as well as potential hazards due to bad weather conditions. 

5. Hybrid learning saves students and educators lots of time 

Hybrid learning can not only save money, it also saves time in a variety of ways. The most obvious time-saver with remote learning is the elimination of back-and-forth commute time to the location where the lessons or tutoring sessions were going to take place. Educators and students also don’t need to worry about wasted time if the other party is running late. With remote lessons, the educator or student can carry on their other affairs while waiting for the other to arrive, or they can simply re-schedule, even if last-minute. 

6. Hybrid learning is more eco-friendly

Less in-person teaching translates to less driving and a reduced carbon footprint! And, if enough students are learning from home, this can even decrease the number of school buses necessary for transportation which can also help lessen the negative impact on the environment. 

7. Hybrid learning is better for certain topics and activities

Sometimes students who attend in-person use computers or devices in class to learn material or engage in projects, simulations, virtual experiences, virtual field trips or labs, or to review video footage. 

In such cases, students don’t need to be physically present in the classroom; they can just as easily learn using a suitable online platform capable of delivering the content as needed. There are a ton of innovative ways to adapt a hybrid model to your existing curriculum or use it to launch exciting new activities. 

8. With hybrid learning, students can benefit from using technology

Students, especially younger generations, have grown up with technology. They’re comfortable with and adept at using devices for entertainment as well as educational purposes. Thus, hybrid learning is natural for them because it incorporates things they’ve grown accustomed to using. 

Granted, older adult students may not be as familiar with today’s devices and might not have the inherent curiosity to explore technology. Nevertheless, they’re often motivated when they discover how much they can benefit from becoming more tech-enabled. 

Using technology to learn is crucial because it prepares students for the future workforce, which is continually evolving. The world is embracing the knowledge economy which is reliant on skilled workers who are proficient in using the latest technology. 

9. Hybrid learning makes it easier to accommodate students with special learning needs

Schools work hard to ensure special education students have the resources to succeed. When necessary, accommodations or modifications must be made, such as presenting material differently, being flexible in how responses are accepted, allowing extra time, or changing physical settings. 

This can pose a challenge to teachers and tutors responsible for ensuring all students have equitable opportunities while keeping the whole class on target each term. Hybrid learning provides educators with additional options which may ease the workload while effectively meeting certain special needs adjustments through inclusive online classrooms

10. Hybrid learning is simple to scale up or down

What happens when a new student arrives and there are no more open desks? In a physical classroom, this might pose a problem but for online sessions, it’s easy to add a new student who can attend virtually. Hybrid learning makes scaling up your class size a breeze because it inherently allows for a greater capacity of students to participate. 

By the same token, if a teacher or tutor needs to break students into small groups, many online platforms make it simple to scale down. No more chaos when asking students to get up and shuffle seats!  

What Is Hybrid Learning? Everything You Need to Know

What Is Hybrid Learning? Everything You Need to Know

From colleges and K-12 school districts to home-based tutoring businesses, educators around the country have jumped at the chance to offer hybrid learning options for students. But what exactly is hybrid learning? In this article, we’ll explore what hybrid learning means, how it differs from blended learning, and how you can make hybrid learning work for your students. 

What is hybrid learning?

Hybrid learning is simply an educational model that combines live, in-person classes with online, remote learning methods. The online portion may involve students attending class via teleconferencing software or engaging with multimedia-enriched content or computer applications. 

Often, we hear the term hybrid learning used synonymously with blending learning. However, there is a difference! The blending learning model relies more on in-person lessons supplemented by online work. In contrast, the hybrid learning model focuses more or less equally on in-person and remote studies. 

To maximize effectiveness, distance learning experiences should be engaging and integrated with face-to-face instruction. They should complement each other as much as possible.  

One variation of hybrid learning is to have half a class attend physically while the rest attend virtually. This is helpful to allow for better social distancing during the pandemic, reducing the risk of exposure. 

Another way to effectively use hybrid learning is to have students attend a certain number of hours in person and then complete the lessons at home. This is useful when students need to work on assignments that don’t require them to be physically present in class. 

Hybrid learning may feature synchronous attendance as well as incorporating asynchronous studies and discussions. Some educators use hybrid learning for short-term solutions when students can’t come to class, others view it as the perfect long-term learning experience that provides students with the best of both worlds. 

Clearly, hybrid learning is a very flexible model for an array of situations, which is why it is being adopted by everyone from tutors to K-12 school districts, all the way up to Ivy League universities. Indeed, in June 2021, Harvard reported that “over the last 15 months, more than 5,000 faculty members across Harvard have taught online and hybrid classes.”  

How to make hybrid learning work for your class

As with in-person classrooms, teachers must establish clear rules for online students to follow. As suggested by Edutopia, it’s wise to set the stage in advance each day, by posting a “daily agenda before class” that includes built-in time for breaks and class transitions. Make sure students (and parents, as applicable) know how to easily find this online and/or in the physical classroom.  

Teachers and tutors must continuously look for ways to keep their hybrid classes interesting, inclusive, relevant, and accessible to everyone. Hybrid learning models should intertwine in-person and online activities as much as possible, utilizing live media and soliciting student engagement in chat. 

Breakout sessions and games are fun ways to bust up the monotony after a lecture or video presentation. The International Literacy Association points out several more tips, noting the importance of teaching real-world applicability. “If students can experience how the skills they learn online can apply outside of the classroom,” the site writes, “they’re not only more engaged but also more prepped for the real world.”

Schools and tutoring businesses interested in hybrid learning should take inventory of their needs before shopping around for a suitable online platform. While there are a few options out there, we at Pearl have built an “all-in-one tool” made specifically for educators — like us! — who need a comprehensive, flexible, user-friendly platform that makes remote teaching and learning easier than ever. 

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