In response to the pervasive learning gaps caused by the COVID pandemic, Guilford County Public Schools initiated a proactive strategy in September 2020, enlisting their inaugural group of tutors from neighboring colleges and universities to develop a home-grown tutoring program. By November, these tutors were actively bridging the educational divide. The recruitment strategy was precise, targeting both graduate and undergraduate students majoring in engineering, math, and education, with a significant emphasis on tapping into the rich resources of two strong local Universities, University of North Carolina Greensboro, and North Carolina A&T (an HBCU).
By the Numbers
The 2022-2023 academic year witnessed a revolutionary transformation within Guilford’s educational landscape, a metamorphosis driven by staggering numbers that underscored the success of its home-grown tutoring initiative.
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.
Fact and Figures
- 305,000 high-impact tutoring sessions conducted, highlighting the strength of the program’s infrastructure in enhancing personalized academic support.
- 500+ community tutors mobilized from within the community to boost K-12 education, increasing civic participation, and providing practical experience for university students.
- 11,000+ students positively impacted through customized, individual, and small group tutoring sessions.
- Improved academic performance, self-confidence, and educational equity among students.
- Powerful synergy between educational advancement and community engagement, establishing a national model.
- Sparked a surge in student confidence, reignited enthusiasm for learning, and notably decreased educational gaps across diverse student groups as the pandemic resurfaced.
Scaling Home-Grown Tutoring
When scaling a home-grown tutoring program, it’s important to select a technology partner that not only helps facilitate online and in-person tutoring but also prioritizes comprehensive data collection—including attendance, dosage, and SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) metrics.
This focus on data integrity is crucial for Guilford County Public Schools, ensuring that every stakeholder can monitor and understand the program’s impact. Because Pearl has rostered every student in the district, data professionals at the district can merge tutor assessment data with tutor data for a full (and dynamic) picture of program health. The ability for the Pearl tutor management platform – and ultimately Guilford County – to track specific aspects of student engagement and progress allows for a nuanced view of the program’s effectiveness and areas for improvement.
- Require detailed tracking of attendance, engagement, and SEL metrics through a tutor management platform provider, like Pearl.
- Prioritize data integrity for transparent, stakeholder-friendly program assessments.
- Integrate district-wide student data for a holistic view of program effectiveness.
- Utilize specific engagement metrics for insights into successes and areas needing improvement.
- Capitalize on large-scale programs to support extensive tutoring goals, like the Pearl partnerships with Stanford’s National Student Support Accelerator to underscore a commitment to top-tier data standards and security.
Now halfway through the first semester of the 2023-2024 school year, Guilford Public Schools’ tutoring program reflects more than an academic lifeline; it’s the heartbeat of a community united in its commitment to educational excellence. This unity is evident not only in the surging academic progress of students but also in the deepening roots of community involvement and support. With proven results and a forward-thinking approach in their home-grown tutoring program, the initiative continues to garner diverse financial backing, ranging from local coffers to significant grants and philanthropic gestures, each contributor drawn to the tangible successes and sustainable promise of the program.
Moreover, this initiative is a catalyst for cultivating the next wave of educators. By involving community members in hands-on tutoring roles, the district is not just filling positions but inspiring a passion for teaching among those who share a personal stake in their community’s future. This strategy has established a robust, self-sustaining educational ecosystem that’s as focused on tomorrow’s teachers as it is on today’s students.
Praise for Guilford Leadership
The ongoing journey of educational recovery and growth in Guilford County Public Schools is significantly marked by the visionary leadership of Dr. Faith Freeman, now Co-Director of the Institute for Partnerships in Education at UNCG, and Guilford’s Superintendent Dr. Whitney Oakley. Their leadership is not just about administrative prowess or educational oversight; it reflects a profound understanding that education extends beyond classroom walls.
The amazing tutoring department at Guilford (now run by Kara Hamliton) holds a shared belief that nurturing the next generation of thinkers, leaders, and innovators is a collective responsibility, one that they have embraced with profound dedication. As Guilford County Public Schools celebrates its milestones and carves out future goals, the community stands testament to the indelible impact of leaders who not only envision a brighter future but also work tirelessly to turn it into a reality.
Pro-Tips: Community-Based Tutoring
- Embrace Community as Core Strength: Recognize your tutoring program not just as an academic support system, but as a vital community asset. The program’s success should reflect and amplify the community’s commitment to educational excellence.
- Implement Rigorous Data Tracking: Establish a systematic approach to collecting critical tutor data — including metrics like attendance, dosage, SEL, and assessments. This robust data collection is essential for accurately measuring program success, providing transparent proof of effectiveness, and ensuring continued trust and investment from funders. By demonstrating positive outcomes through solid data, you reinforce the program’s credibility and secure ongoing support.
- Measure Success Beyond Academics: Gauge the program’s impact not only through academic improvement but also via the depth of community engagement and support. Celebrate and leverage these aspects as integral components of the program’s success.
- Diversify Funding Sources: Seek varied financial contributions, from local funds to substantial grants and donations. Showcase tangible successes and the program’s sustainable promise to attract and secure diverse backing.
- Cultivate Future Educators: Use the program as a platform to inspire a new generation of educators. Engage community members as tutors to ignite a passion for teaching and a personal investment in the community’s educational future.
- Build a Self-Sustaining Educational Ecosystem: Aim to create an educational environment that nurtures both current students and future educators, ensuring the program’s longevity and community relevance.
- Lead with Vision and Understanding: Encourage leadership that understands education as a holistic experience extending beyond academics. Leaders should embody and act upon the belief that shaping future thinkers, leaders, and innovators is a communal duty.
- Champion Collective Responsibility: Promote a shared belief across all stakeholders, including the tutoring department, that educating the next generation is a joint responsibility requiring dedicated commitment.
- Celebrate and Strategize: Take time to acknowledge milestones while also diligently planning for the future. Recognize the enduring impact of visionary leaders and a community united in turning educational aspirations into tangible realities.
Guilford County Public Schools high-impact tutoring program, enhanced through collaborations with local institutions like NCAT and UNCG, extends robust tutoring resources to students. Emphasis on systematic training and superior instructional materials ensures the tutoring surpasses the effectiveness of many other academic interventions.
The strategy focuses on frequent, high-dosage tutoring, allocating 2-6 hours per week, which is pivotal for improving student outcomes. This approach not only bolsters academic performance but also strengthens social and emotional foundations through valuable mentorships, helping students realign with their educational pathways.