Pearl Launches Tutoring Ecosystem with 10 of the Nation’s Leading Education Organizations

Pearl Launches Tutoring Ecosystem with 10 of the Nation’s Leading Education Organizations

Reprinted from original source: Globenewswire

RICHMOND, Va., Sept. 13, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Pearl, a leading research-based tutoring platform, today announced the launch of their ecosystem which includes strategic partnerships with 10 of the nation’s top universities and education organizations – including Centers for Research and Reform at Johns Hopkins University, The National Student Support Accelerator at Stanford University, Stanford Graduate School of Education, and Deans for Impact – during the launch of its Tutoring Ecosystem. The Pearl Tutoring Ecosystem is the combination of its operational and data platform with specialized resources from the nation’s leading colleges, universities, and community partners across critical aspects of evidence-based tutoring programs. Pearl Ecosystem partners are united in their efforts to support communities trying to start, scale, and sustain relationship-based, high-impact tutoring.

“The organizations Pearl supports gain efficiencies through an all-in-one solution that caters to the diverse needs of tutoring programs at the state and local levels by streamlining operations, reporting actionable data and, most importantly, improving student outcomes,” said John Failla, Pearl’s Founder and CEO. “Our tutoring partners trust us to help them design an all-encompassing evidence-based program and now they will have access to an ecosystem featuring many of the nation’s leading education organizations.”

The key resources provided by the Pearl Tutoring Ecosystem includes assessment, content and curriculum, funding support, program design, third-party research and third-party evaluation, tutor management, and tutor training and professional development.

Leading education companies joining Pearl in the Tutoring Ecosystem:

  • Deans for Impact
  • JUMP Math
  • K12 Connect at Grand Valley State University
  • Mindprint Learning
  • National Student Support Accelerator
  • PLUS – Personalized Learning Squared
  • Proven Tutoring at CRRE Johns Hopkins University
  • Proximity Learning
  • RFP/Grant Support Specialist, Ashley Parker Sheils
  • Stanford University Graduate School of Education

“Research shows that relationship-based, intensive tutoring leads to positive academic growth and student success,” said Susanna Loeb, PhD, Professor at Stanford and Director of the National Student Support Accelerator. “As schools across the country navigate the ongoing challenges that COVID learning loss continues to present three years after its onset, providing educators with streamlined access to tools that support student growth can be greatly beneficial and the reason that we collaborate regularly with Pearl and are part of the Pearl ecosystem of support. Through our frequent conversations with education leaders, we know the benefit of making it easier for schools and students to access the tutoring support they need and for school systems to have the data they need to measure and drive achievement and continuously improve their programs.”

To become a Pearl Tutoring Ecosystem partner or learn more about the platform, visit

Based in Richmond, VA, Pearl is the first research-based education ecosystem that streamlines operations, reports actionable data, and improves outcomes for districts, state agencies, and organizations tutoring tomorrow’s workforce, today. The platform’s fully integrated classroom and administrative tools allow its partners to start, scale, and sustain evidence-based tutoring to support measurable outcomes for all communities. This all-in-one solution provides access to the nation’s largest and most respected industry partners including the National Student Support Accelerator at Stanford University. To schedule a demo and learn more, visit


Tutoring Takes a Village (and an Ecosystem)

Tutoring Takes a Village (and an Ecosystem)

As summer comes to an end and kids are back in school, learning and learning loss is top-of-mind for parents and educators. Unfortunately, current learning loss has reached levels unseen by any previous generation. According to the NWEA, only a quarter of students are up to grade level in math, with one-third at grade level in reading. It would take more than 7 months and more than 9 months for eighth graders to catch up in reading and math, respectively. That’s not the kind of deficit that can be made up in a few after school sessions./span>

The Power of High-Impact Tutoring

Fortunately, high-impact tutoring (HIT) is proven to mitigate learning loss, and Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding has allowed many districts to take advantage of its benefits. In 2022, the market size in revenue of the online tutoring services industry was $1.9 billion, an increase of 17.7% over 2021.

But HIT only works if done correctly, and while billions of dollars are going into tutoring, the data landscape for the industry is so fragmented that administrators are forced to make buying decisions in the dark. States and districts unfamiliar with the principles of HIT lack the tools to identify the partners who are best positioned to help the students they aim to support.

Decision-makers need their own support in designing their programs, finding and communicating with the right tutors, and, perhaps even more importantly, engaging researchers that can properly perform a third-party evaluation to prove compliance to evidence-based tutoring standards, overall impact, and ROI of their program.

The Need for New

Seeing the challenges our existing tutoring partners were facing, Pearl used our network of top educational connections to build a tutoring ecosystem, benefiting states, districts, and independent tutoring organizations. 

The Tutoring Ecosystem gives Pearl tutoring platform users access to resources and organizations to help them with content and curriculum, funding support, program design, third-party research and evaluation, tutor management, and professional development, as well as streamlining operations and reporting actionable data. This kind of arrangement gives tutors and administrators the tools they need to succeed, which translates tangibly to student success.

Relationships Matter

It all comes down to relationships and consistency. In his 2009 meta study, Visible Learning, John Hattie found that a student who has a strong relationship with a teacher will learn 72% faster than a student without one. That means meeting with the same tutor for at least 30 minutes, three times a week. This consistency accounts for two of the five pillars of successful HIT. The other key components are small groups of no more than three students, sessions embedded during the school day, and data-driven instructional materials and assessment tools.

Community-Based Tutoring Programs

One way states and districts can build a tutoring program is to connect K-12 schools with colleges and universities to establish community-based tutoring. Through the Federal Work Study program, college students are hired to tutor part-time, which helps finance the cost of their postsecondary education while providing dependable tutoring services to K-12 schools at a fraction of the conventional cost. In addition, the National Partnership for Student Success infuses the educational landscape with resources while fostering community connections and establishing a talent pipeline from universities to schools.

Future Forward

The new school year is upon us, as is the ESSER cliff (though thankfully it’s been extended!). With academic anxieties steadily rising, the magnified threat of learning loss stands as an unanticipated challenge for this generation. While high-impact tutoring offers a promising solution, it’s crucial that it’s implemented with precision and backed by evidence. The fragmented nature of the current tutoring model often leaves educational decision-makers navigating in obscurity. 

Pearl’s Tutoring Ecosystem is illuminating a way forward, combining proprietary technology with invaluable resources from the best in education. By fostering robust relationships and leveraging community connections, we’ve created a tutoring framework that doesn’t just patch learning deficits but propels students towards success. Instead of merely injecting funds into ad-hoc tutoring bandaids, the path ahead calls for an integrated, holistic approach where tutors are empowered to make lasting impacts. It’s not just about catching up; it’s about reinventing the way we support our students’ academic journeys.

About the Author

John Failla is the CEO and Founder of Pearl, a leading research-based, tutoring ecosystem. Inspired by his experience as a struggling student and the positive impact created by his high-school tutor, John built the proprietary Pearl platform in 2019 to help his tutoring company scale, while keeping relationships at the core. Pearl prioritizes relationships by uniting teaching with technology, helping relationship-based educators and students achieve meaningful and measurable success.

Today, John is on a mission to create equitable access to relationship-based education that is impactful, scalable and sustainable. Pearl is the platform provider behind many of the nation’s largest community-based, tutoring initiatives including Arkansas, New Jersey, Illinois, and Virginia, with the Ecosystem bringing together the most progressive and respected education organizations including the National Student Support Accelerator at Stanford University. 

John is a graduate of the University of Richmond where he serves as Founder in Residence, fostering relationships between the university and its burgeoning startup community. Conference 2023 Conference 2023

“Charting the Path Forward for Tutoring Based in Evidence and Practice” was the first time hosted an in-person gathering.  Held April 26-27th in Arlington, Virginia, this invite-only event was extended to 31 grantees and provided valuable insights, fresh ideas, and networking prospects within the tutoring community and K-12 Education System.

Investing in the K-12 Education System

John Failla, Founder and CEO at Pearl, and Nate Casey, Chief Strategy Officer at Pearl, spent the day with the Community of Practice listening to panel discussions, participating in breakout sessions, and connecting with fellow grantees. The dedication to incorporating tutoring as a fundamental component of the K-12 education system in the upcoming years has never been more apparent.

Attendees were a wonderful blend of K-12 Education professionals ranging from classroom educators, researchers, policy experts, to EdTech innovators. As panel discussions unfolded and workshops began, everyone contributed their unique knowledge and valuable experiences, making this a truly inspirational event. Conference Key Takeaways

Accelerate’s CEP, Kevin Huffman initiated the conference with an optimistic, yet grounded, perspective on the past two years and the challenges ahead. The room was pervaded by a palpable sense of urgency to demonstrate the efficacy of our approach before the ARP ESSER funding expires in September 2024.

The opening panel featured district leaders from Baltimore and Washington DC, who shared intriguing insights into the complexities of implementing tutoring programs within the K-12 education system. In particular, Arthur Mola, Principal of the Cardoza Education Campus captivated the audience through his discussion on the importance of having a dedicated tutoring lead and the necessary steps to foster genuine collaboration with external support. 

Implementing Tutoring Programs
    1. Having a dedicated tutoring coordinator on your campus greatly streamlines the integration of tutoring into the scheduling framework
    2. Engaging kids in the data that shows their personal academic growth can be a powerful motivating factor.
    3. Rolling out MTSS anew is hard, but can become a strong catalyst for weaving tutoring more thoughtfully into the K-12 experience.
Future of Tech
    1. ChatGPT and AI writing software is not just a clear game changer, it has the opportunity to impact education in many ways, including professional development, assessment, and driving deeper individualized learning pathways.
    2. Although new technologies have a tremendous amount of promise, the “relationship” between student and tutor is still a critical aspect to learning.
    3. New technology is focused on driving down the cost of individualized learning which may soon allow for a single teacher to teach a classroom of students with individual learning gap data feeding “in real time” to the teacher. 
Ensuring Outcomes Through Policy
  • Every case study examined (Arkansas, Tennessee, and Texas) took a different approach to leveraging policy as a way to move quickly on tutoring.
  • In many instances, the most meaningful policies are the ones that unblock heavy barriers to entry, like streamlining criminal background checks or incentivizing tutors with better pay.

There is a great opportunity to incentivize programs that adhere to strict evidence-based approaches to delivering tutoring (i.e. – TQIS as defined by the NSSA)

Sustainability and The Future
    1. Increased emphasis on personalized learning: With advances in educational technology and the availability of data-driven insights, more school districts are likely to adopt personalized learning models that cater to the unique needs and preferences of individual students. This may include a greater use of adaptive learning platforms, virtual tutors, and other tools that enable students to learn at their own pace and according to their own learning styles.
    2. Greater collaboration between schools and external stakeholders: To address the increasing demand for high-quality tutoring services, K-12 education systems and school districts may partner with external stakeholders such as community organizations, non-profits, and private companies to provide additional resources and support. This may involve the development of public-private partnerships, grant programs, and other initiatives that bring together various stakeholders to improve access and equity in education.
    3. Enhanced infrastructure to support remote learning: In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many school districts have already invested in upgrading their infrastructure to support remote learning. This trend is likely to continue in the next five years, with more schools adopting blended learning models that combine traditional classroom instruction with online and remote learning opportunities. This may require investments in new hardware and software, as well as training and professional development for teachers and staff to support effective remote instruction.

Accelerate actively builds the country’s knowledge of tools and practices that significantly advance student learning. [They] do this by bridging the gaps between research, communities, and systems to ensure the rapid and widespread adoption of proven strategies.

Pearl Convenes Inaugural Community Tutoring Partnerships Summit Attended by State, University and District Leaders Across 18 States

Pearl Convenes Inaugural Community Tutoring Partnerships Summit Attended by State, University and District Leaders Across 18 States

Participants curated best practices that underscore the importance of diversifying tutor supply, establishing training and professional development pathways, and using evidence to validate programs

RICHMOND, Va. — Pearl, the leading research-based tutor management platform, announced today insights from its inaugural Community Tutoring Partnerships Summit focused on the rise of community tutoring partnerships. Community tutoring partnerships bring together states, districts and higher education institutions to leverage existing community resources with the goal of developing sustainable tutoring programs designed to solve each community’s greatest needs. 

The first-of-its-kind day-long virtual summit was attended by leaders spanning 18 states and 39 higher education institutions serving hundreds of districts nationwide.  The event highlighted evidence-based strategies and lessons from the nation’s leading community-tutoring experts including Dr. Christy Borders E.d.D, Director of the Illinois Tutoring Initiative at Illinois State University, Faith Freeman P.h.D, Co-Director of Institute for Partnerships in Education at University North Carolina GreensboroSusanna Loeb P.h.D, Director of the Annenberg Institute of School Reform at Brown University, and Patrick Steck, Senior Director of Policy for Deans for Impact. 

“Community-designed partnerships as a segment are showing significant promise in the fight against learning loss,” said John Failla, CEO and co-founder of Pearl. “These partnerships enable local school systems to build sustainable innovation right into their model. The result is a meaningful, measurable impact to lead to academic outcomes.”

During the summit, the National Student Support Accelerator also launched its inaugural Higher Education Toolkit, a playbook aimed to support Higher Education Institutions in partnering with school districts to offer high-impact tutoring services. The biggest takeaway from the convening was a unanimous consensus among key stakeholders that understanding how to retain, recruit, manage and support tutors is the most pressing issue to ensure tutoring is sustainable and effective in driving student outcomes.

With the Biden administration calling for an additional 250,000 tutors and mentors to help students make up for lost instruction time due to the pandemic, tutoring has emerged as an essential component of K-12 education. Researchers, across multiple studies, find that high-impact tutoring can dramatically accelerate student achievement. 

However, creating an evidence-based tutoring program can be daunting, especially during unprecedented education staffing shortages and uncertainty on resources post ARP-ESSER funding. Schools and districts have significant questions about recruiting, training and coaching tutors, choosing the most efficacious compensation model and how to ensure sustained funding in the future, and how to structure and measure the performance of a wide variety of critical interventions. 

Having partnered with multiple state, university and district-led community-tutoring programs since 2020, Pearl is developing the nation’s most diverse dataset in the tutoring industry. The platform is foundational for managing and scaling hybrid tutoring through evidence-based best practices in collaboration with the Annenberg Institute at Brown University and its National Student Support Accelerator (NSSA) to safely gather data to continuously improve program design and measurably accelerate student outcomes. In March, Pearl announced that it had joined the innovative community-based tutoring program endorsed by Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin in partnership with the Urban Leagues of Hampton Roads and Greater Richmond and four historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

Failla concludes, “Certain geographies and specialties are in deeper need today, and they’re seeking guidance and evidence to stand as clear examples for how to build high-impact tutoring programs based on efficacy. These best practices curated by our participants at state and district levels can serve as that north star.”

To read more about the ten key takeaways from the Community Tutoring Partner Summit, visit 

About Pearl

Based in Richmond, VA, Pearl is the leading research-based tutor management platform that streamlines operations, reports actionable data, and improves outcomes for districts, state agencies and organizations tutoring tomorrow’s workforce, today. The platform’s fully integrated classroom and administrative tools allow its partners to launch, scale and sustain evidence-based tutoring to support measurable outcomes for all communities. The Pearl ecosystem provides access to the nation’s largest and most respected industry partners including the Annenberg Institute at Brown University and the National Student Support Accelerator at Stanford University.  For more information visit

Towards the Cliff We Go!

Towards the Cliff We Go!

What Happens When ESSER Funding Ends?

One Year Ago

In May of 2022, Pearl leadership attended the NSSA Conference at Brown with a sense of opportunity, excitement, and responsibility. 150 amazing people from every aspect of tutoring gathered to discuss the opportunities ahead.  

Tutoring has become increasingly popular over the last three years as a policy that has forged new paths. A growing body of empirical evidence by the Annenberg Institute has demonstrated that positive outcomes can be achieved if key tenets of high-impact tutoring are followed carefully. The evidence regarding what works is increasingly accompanied by evidence about what does not work (including on-demand homework help).


The clarity of opportunities from the conference in 2022 remains unchanged today. 

It is an imperative to declare K12 tutoring as a fundamental human right and adopt the best method to mitigate the COVID slide as well as generations of inequities in education. 

This approach can transform our national educational system to equip our students with the essential skills to succeed in school and in life.

As Spring is upon us and the end of the school year approaches, the workload on our shoulders is beginning to soften. With this sense of relief comes trepidation as educators look forward to next year. What will remain the same and what might change? One thing is certain, as the cliff approaches, so too will policy makers start putting the spotlight on programs, looking for results and demanding accountability. The funding must be contracted by Sept 2024 and spent by June of 2025. 

Recently, the Council of Chief State School Officers released a report on ESSER spending across the country. CCSSO reports that states have allocated a significant portion of relief funds to various initiatives. A majority of the fund, $4.2 billion, will go towards tutoring and accelerated learning. A total of $2.9 billion has been allocated for programs outside of school hours. In addition, around $2.4 billion will help fund higher quality curriculum/instruction and enhance digital equity.

LEAs (districts) and state DOEs continue to find themselves torn between the ease of RFPing for turnkey solutions which on the surface may seem more readily available to students or spending money on clear, proven evidence-based solutions that will benefit students that need support the most. Additionally, many LEAs struggling with sharp declines in teacher resources cannot begin to imagine adding the complexity of self-managed tutoring to their current scheduling paradigm.

With state and district programs trying to better navigate spending, RFPs will increasingly become Requests For Information (RFIs). The RFI trend will provide the opportunity to suggest alternative approaches, and perhaps even a different (evidence-based design) approach than that originally contemplated in the request. There is no doubt that ineffective spending on tutoring will not result in the sustainability of those programs. The effectiveness of both design and positive outcomes must be proven if stakeholders want tutoring money to stay in their respective tutoring programs. 

The Path Forward

Returning to what remains of ESSER (per the CCSSO), it is imperative to sustainability that forward thinking programs plan to leverage their portion of the remaining ~$4.2 billion to form tutoring community partnerships while leveraging third party evaluation to prove efficacy.  

As a core component of almost any community tutoring partnership design is the participation of higher education. Annenberg outlines three evidence-based program designs for community tutoring partnerships in their newly released HIT Higher Education Institution Playbook as Recruitment Model, Educator Pipeline Model and Community Engagement Model.  

Over the next year and a half a great deal will need to happen so that promising tutoring programs can be made sustainable. There are a number of ways that sustainability might be made possible, including: federal aid extensions,  philanthropic matching or braided funding, state DOE budget reappropriation, federal grant programs, corporate giving, and new policies focused on building better infrastructure for future teachers. Our friends at Deans For Impact (DFI) outline the final “higher-education” opportunities in their work to mobilize Aspiring Teachers as Tutors Network. As a quick resource, see DFI’s policy suggestions referenced below. 

As we look towards the final ESSER cliff, let us respond to the challenge and do what is right to make tutoring the future of education.  

We must:

  • Come together to implement High Impact Tutoring in an evidence based way for the students that need it the most 
  • Leverage evidence based approaches to data collection and proving program efficacy 
  • Build sustainable resources through partnerships in higher-education and broader communities
  • Innovate ways to scale tutoring capacity to deliver quality instruction
  • Develop better support for rural districts and schools 
  • Pay our educators what they deserve 


Pass S.3964 (The CORPS Act) and prioritize the eligibility of future teachers as awardees. 

Fund an optional 1% set-aside to expand access to tutoring by funding innovative partnerships between teacher-preparation programs, community-based organizations, and/or other non-governmental organizations.

Identify these ideas as an allowable use of funds in the next stimulus package for innovative partnerships that seek to increase the capacity to reopen schools and support students. 

Increase funding for Title II of the Higher Education Act in the FY2021 Labor-HHS-Education bill by $500 million to directly support states to develop plans that leverage future teachers. 

Allow tutoring – as described above – in high-need or low-income schools to satisfy TEACH Grant service requirements for the duration of the pandemic.  

-Attribution – Deans For Impact – Resources for Education and Policy Leaders*

Unsure of how to tackle the challenges of your large online tutoring program? Schedule time to speak to a Pearl expert and learn best practices for evidence-based tutoring with Pearl.

Pearl Joins Urban Leagues of Hampton Roads, Greater Richmond, Four HBCUs to Launch Tutoring Programs

Pearl Joins Urban Leagues of Hampton Roads, Greater Richmond, Four HBCUs to Launch Tutoring Programs

Tutor management and efficacy provider Pearl will manage and measurably scale tutoring to thousands of underserved middle and high school students

Richmond, VA (March 7, 2023) Pearl, the leading tutor intelligence and efficacy platform, today announced it has joined the innovative community-based tutoring program endorsed by Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin in partnership with the Urban Leagues of Hampton Roads and Greater Richmond and four historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). In an effort to address critical learning gaps, the program will employ hundreds of HBCU students as tutors and mentors to middle and high school students throughout their communities.

As part of the initiative, Pearl will initially support the Urban Leagues of Hampton Roads and Greater Richmond to launch and manage tutoring for nearly 1500 students in Hampton City School District and Petersburg City Public Schools over the next two years with plans to expand the program to Richmond City and other districts in underserved communities. Participating HBCUs include Norfolk State University, Hampton University, Virginia State University, and Virginia Union University. 

“I’m thrilled that Pearl’s all-in-one tutor management and efficacy platform is partnering with our treasured Historically Black Colleges and Universities. This partnership is a testament to the commitment we have made to help high and middle schoolers in their communities get caught up in school,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “Pearl is the perfect example of the kind of collaborative, inventive partnership we want to see across the Commonwealth to support our students.”

“Faced with enormous learning loss and displacements, we are honored to join these outstanding partners in this first-of-its-kind, governor-endorsed tutoring program to launch and scale measurable tutoring support,” said John Failla, CEO and co-founder of Pearl. “Community-based tutoring is proving to be a sustainable modality to support both social-emotional learning and academic outcomes. We are especially excited about being able to serve the students across our home state of Virginia.”

In announcing the partnerships, Governor Youngkin described it as a “breakthrough initiative” focused on learning loss recovery by recruiting HBCU college students in “transformational tutoring partnerships.” Gill Bland, President and CEO of the Urban League of Hampton Roads, said the undertaking would “provide academic enrichment options through enhanced opportunities for tutoring and mentorship.” Interim CEO of Urban League of Greater Richmond, Larry Murphy added that the partnership is a “great opportunity to connect resources and services for the most ‘at promise’ students in Virginia.”

“Virginia 4th graders had the largest decline in math and reading scores as reported on the Nation’s Report Card; we are on the cusp of losing a generation of our children due to historic learning loss,” said Aimee Guilderia, Secretary of Education for the Commonwealth of Virginia.  “This inspiring partnership will change this trajectory and ensure that our children get back on track for academic and lifelong success.”

Having partnered with multiple state, university and district-led community-tutoring programs, Pearl is developing the nation’s most diverse dataset in the tutoring industry. The platform is foundational for managing and scaling hybrid tutoring through evidence-based best practices and collaborates with the Annenberg Institute at Brown University and its National Student Support Accelerator (NSSA) to safely gather data to continuously improve program design and measurably accelerate student outcomes.

For more information about Pearl’s tutor management and efficacy platform for states, districts and enterprise tutoring companies to launch, manage and measurably scale hybrid tutoring programs, please visit: 

About Pearl

Richmond-based Pearl is committed to scaling sustainable, evidence-based tutoring to support measurable academic outcomes for all students. The platform’s fully integrated classroom and administrative tools allow enterprise tutoring companies, academic organizations, districts, and states to launch and scale hybrid tutoring programs with ease. Whether instruction occurs online or in person, Pearl’s all-in-one tutor management system provides education decision-makers with the tools needed to improve student learning. Additionally, in collaboration with the Annenberg Institute at Brown University and its National Student Support Accelerator, Pearl safely collects and protects the necessary data to prove efficacy and improve program design to ensure all students thrive. To learn more about Pearl, visit


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