A new approach to tutoring: University partnerships and community building

A new approach to tutoring: University partnerships and community building

By Christy M. Borders, Ed.D., Director, Illinois Tutoring Initiative, Illinois State University

Original publication by EdTech Chronicle

State leaders have their eyes on tutoring as a potential approach to counteract the academic effects of the pandemic as they continue to release their plans for spending their COVID-19 federal relief funds. And while tutoring has promising results for student learning, not all programs are created equal. As the director of the Illinois Tutoring Initiative (ITI), I’ve seen first-hand how high-impact, relationship-based tutoring in partnership with local colleges and universities is not only possible but is scalable, sustainable, and affects positive change for the communities served.

In 2021, in an effort to better support students, educators, and the broader community, the Illinois P-20 Council created a guide with evidence-based strategies to support learning renewal and student well-being, including high-impact tutoring.  As a result, the State of Illinois invested $25 million in high-impact tutoring as one part of their COVID-19 recovery plan.  The Illinois Tutoring Initiative involves strong partnerships across state agencies, higher education institutions, and K-12 priority school districts to support student learning in reading and math in grades 3-8, along with tutoring in high school math. 

Continue reading at edtechchronicle.com.

What is a community partnership?

What is a community partnership?

Pearl - Community Partnerships
Pearl – Community Partnerships

While some state agencies, non-profits, and district leaders viewed the ARP-ESSER dollars as a stop-gap measure to learning loss, others developed programs that could help fundamentally change K-12 education. At Pearl, we refer to these evidence-based, sustainable tutoring programs as Community Tutoring Partnerships.   

A Community Tutoring Partnership is any funded state, district, or non-profit organization that leverages the tutoring resources of their community to serve schools within that community. These programs focus on evidence-based practices (like High-Impact-Tutoring) to support local schools to prove results and make their program(s) sustainable.  

Community Tutoring Partnership programs often leverage universities as the core supplier of qualified tutors. Universities can offer a wide range of talented, energetic students as tutors. Education students, in particular, are great tutors. They have the interests and the need to gain real-world teaching experience. With university students as their primary tutoring resource, program managers can augment their tutoring group with additional support from retired teachers, volunteers, and federally funded groups like Americorps. 

If done correctly, community tutoring partnerships 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. They can help build stronger, more supportive relationships with families and other community members. This can create a sense of shared responsibility for student success and improve student outcomes.

At Pearl, we have seen the success of these community tutoring partnerships firsthand through our work with the nation’s largest and most innovative programs. From our partners in Illinois & South Dakota to Virginia & North Carolina, evidence-based community programs are answering the call and investing in the future of their communities. 

VIRTUAL SUMMIT: "The Future of High-Impact Tutoring with AI" | June 5 from 12-3 pm ET
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