3 Ways to Make Starting a Successful K-12 Tutoring Program Easier

Mar 28, 2024 | Community Partnerships, EdTech, Tutoring Industry

In the world of tutoring, addressing changes, solving challenges and fostering growth are at the forefront of everything we do. The challenges are even greater when it comes to K-12 education and the need to mitigate and prevent learning loss. Many school districts across the country have launched “Grow-Your-Own” tutoring programs – all with the best intentions but not always with the best outcomes.

So why are some districts more successful than others? Are the challenges the same from one district to the other? Is there a uniform way to approach how to start, scale and sustain a tutoring program? According to our expert partners at Framework Consulting, there are solutions to basic “Grow-Your-Own” challenges that can be addressed to make starting a successful tutoring program a lot easier.

Challenge #1: Embracing & Implementing Instructional Methodology

Solution #1: Finding a High-Impact Tutor Management System (TMS)

The days of trial and error testing tutoring methodologies are long gone. Determining a methodology shouldn’t be a challenge – research-based, High Impact Tutoring (HIT), has presented the most evidence of academic impact and is backed by the National Student Support Accelerator at Stanford University. 

BUT, here’s the challenge…High Impact Tutoring means your program must meet specific data-driven criteria:

  • Utilizing tutors with strong instructional skills
  • Developing sound relationships with students
  • Employing certified teachers or individuals with subject matter expertise
  • Tutoring in small groups of 1-4 students 
  • Meeting schedules that allow time each week for quality interactions. 

Framework Managing Partner, David Taylor, is a big proponent of “doing as many things as possible ‘in-house’”, but warns that “creating a tutor management platform isn’t one of them”.  He encourages K-12 districts to be thoughtful in selecting the right Tutor Management System (TMS) to schedule sessions, while creating a space for tutor/learner engagement for both in-person and virtual sessions. Additionally, David emphasizes that, “an effective Tutor Platform, such as Pearl, must have strong and secure data collection capabilities to support communication between tutors and teachers, provide ongoing instructional improvement, and prove the long-term efficacy of the tutoring program”.

Challenge #2: Sourcing Teacher-Tutors

Solution #2: Establishing Your Own Pipeline of Talent

Many tutoring programs work with third party providers to source their talent. This leaves limited control of the instructors who are the face of your district/organization. 

David says that “establishing a pipeline of high-quality tutors from your community may take time but it’s worth it”. Here are his tips:

  • Start with certified teachers and subject matter experts. 
  • Use recruitment as an opportunity to engage the local community. 
  • Retired educators, local teacher groups, and community colleges are all sources of potential tutors. 
  • Other considerations: 
    • Hire a Workforce Solutions Provider (like Framework) that specializes in sourcing, vetting and qualifying K-12 Tutoring candidates
    • Create a Tutoring Operations Team to oversee budgeting staffing needs and scale positions as the program grows
    • Employ a Human Capital Management partner to execute background checks, onboarding, HR, payroll, and consultant care, amongst other needs.

Challenge #3: Maximizing Operational Capacity

Solution #3: Building for The Future at the Beginning

As high-impact tutoring programs start, the need to scale is often overlooked and long-term operational capacity is maxed-out sooner than expected. From the start, you should plan for:

  • Quality training for your tutors
  • Ongoing improvement and professional development
  • Policies and procedures that support the program and enforce conduct and standards
  • Curriculum design to support your tutors
  • A robust communications plan and a feedback loop that provides critical operational and student data for your district/organization

By considering the future at the beginning and building for future growth, rapid implementation of best practices and the ability to adapt to changes, your organization will be set up for success from the start.  

Next Steps

Building an internal, “Grow-Your-Own” tutoring program requires a deep investment of time and resources, but it can be done! Pearl and Framework are here to support your efforts as you explore options and implement solutions.   
  1. Start with the goal to create a High Impact Tutoring program, at scale.
  2. Find a trusted, proven, and secure TMS partner
  3. Build your own pipeline of talent to deliver the program.
  4. Always collect data, evaluate and adjust for the future as you build.
  5. Talk to an expert! 

Guest Contributor

Special thanks to David Taylor, Managing Partner of Framework Consulting, for his insights and expertise. Framework provides customized, effective K-12 EdTech workforce management and strategic solutions in response to challenges, change, and growth. 

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