Partnering with a Provider: Collaborating with a Provider

Overview: Why is it important to collaborate with your tutoring provider?

Your district’s degree of collaboration with a provider will depend on the program model and the level of logistics and support needed from the district to implement the program. Ideally, a tutoring provider will operate as a strategic partner, supporting the district to continuously reflect and improve upon the tutoring program. Providers are experts in their own model and should manage a lot of the detailed troubleshooting so that the districts can focus on higher-level strategic alignment of High-Impact Tutoring with district priorities.

What are best practices for collaborating with tutoring providers?

Ensure a single point person on each side.

Assign a primary point of contact who will be accountable for maintaining communication and sustaining the relationship.

Ensure that roles and responsibilities remain clear to all collaborators.

Establish clear roles, including who will create the agenda for collaboration and who will be accountable for ensuring follow-through on each step. Additionally, while both entities should have a point person, districts will want to decide when and how others across the district will engage in district collaboration. The guidance for Collaborator Involvement can support you in making these decisions.

Set aside time for collaboration both before and throughout implementation.

Spend significant time up front aligning your expectations with your provider’s. Depending on the provider’s model, this alignment could happen anywhere between six weeks and six months before launching tutoring.

While this up-front time will mainly be spent planning between the district and the provider, in some districts the tutoring provider may also work directly with schools. Even when the provider is primarily collaborating with the district, the tutoring provider and school should also hold a kick-off meeting. See our list of suggestions about how to kick off a tutoring collaboration at a school site, while the next section describes tutoring collaboration at the district level.

Once tutoring is launched, schedule a regular meeting every one to two weeks with the provider. After the first quarter, you may want to reflect on the quality and frequency of collaboration and make adjustments to your collaboration cadence based on provider and district needs. The list of Collaboration Topics below offers several suggestions.

Which stakeholders should be involved in collaboration efforts and how?

You should have a plan for how collaborators will interact directly with the provider in order to ensure that collaborators are appropriately and regularly updated and are able to give direct feedback to improve the program. See the recommendations below for how to involve collaborators in collaborating with your provider:

Recommended Collaborators
Role < How often Rationale
Tutoring Project Manager/Provider Relationship Manager Every Meeting The Project Manager should attend every meeting to make connections and pull in others from the district when relevant. The Project Manager may also develop agendas for the collaboration, though this should be decided on the front end with the provider.
Superintendent/CAO (Depending on the size of the district) 2-3 times per year At a minimum, the superintendent or Chief Academic Officer should meet key individuals from the provider, have input on the final goals/outcomes of the tutoring program, and have access to end-of-program data.

The Superintendent/CAO ultimately signs off on the budget, and it is ideal for them to be aware of the return on their investment.

Principals/Assistant Principals At least 2-3 times per year

As often as every meeting (optional)

Depending on the model and implementation, you may want to have principals and/or APs involved in the collaboration.

This involvement could be 2-3 times per year to provide feedback and thought partnership or it could be more consistent if desired and appropriate based on the scale of implementation.

Classroom Teachers At least every other month

At most once a month

Teachers should have regular access to tutoring data.

Additionally, Additionally, classroom teachers may receive data analysis from providers based on tutoring data. Depending on your provider's capacity, they may provide classroom teachers with some support on how to adjust lesson plans to address problems seen in student understanding.

School staff must be able to contact the provider when issues arise.

Coaching Team Depends on context Depending on how much contact coaches have with tutors, you may want to integrate coaches into meetings for relevant topics.>
District Data Point of Contact During data reflections Members from your data and analytics team should attend meetings where data from the field are presented and reflected upon.>

What topics should be covered in collaboration efforts?

This list is divided into two sections: topics to discuss before implementation begins and during implementation.

Before Implementation Begins: Collaboration Topics
At the start of the partnership, your goal is to establish a shared vision and robust system for collaboration.
  • Who is the point person at the district?
  • Who is the point person at the provider?
  • What other individuals will be involved from the district and when will they be involved?
  • What other individuals will be involved from the provider, and when?
Joint Collaboration Systems
  • What is the vision for partnership
    • What do we hope the partnership will accomplish?
    • What does that require for how the parties will collaborate?
  • What shared systems for storing collaboration documents are required?
  • What are communication expectations?
    • What are preferred modes and times of communication (email, text, phone, etc.)?
    • Who should be included in email updates, etc.?
Program Decisions
  • What are the target numbers of tutors, students and schools?
  • Finalize Performance Management Plan:
    • What are the partnership’s goals by time period?
    • Which data-collection tools will be used? Typically districts will manage academic data, while providers take the lead on attendance/engagement data.
      • Who will have a role in data collection (implementing or completing surveys, collecting academic data, etc.)? What will each person’s role be?
      • What will be the time commitment of each of the individuals involved?
  • What is the final budget for this partnership? What are the cost drivers?
Data Systems
Training for District/School Leaders and Teachers
  • What training will need to be completed (and for whom) based on the model? Typical training may include teacher-tutor collaboration best practices, how to navigate the provider’s online system, etc.
  • What is the schedule and method for training?
Determining Customization
  • What types of customization do both parties want to make (e.g., recruiting from specific local entities, designing training relevant to the specific district context)? The amount of customization will vary based on local context.
School Site Logistics
  • In which schools will the provider operate?
  • Which tutors will be placed at which school? Should specific factors be taken into account when matching tutors to schools such as language abilities?
  • Who at each school is responsible for specific support roles such as scheduling, classroom space, etc.?
  • Where is a centralized database of contact information for each school?
Meeting Schedule
  • How often and where should Data Reflection and Improvement meetings take place and who should be included?


During Implementation: Collaboration Topics
While the district or provider should plan for a bi-weekly or monthly check-in, it also suggested that you schedule (at minimum) quarterly reflections to formally reflect on progress and make improvements.
Impact Data Analysis What do the data show us about engagement and initial impact?
  • Enrollment/Registration
  • Attendance/participation/engagement rates
  • Regular academic data (such as exit tickets[1] )
  • Quarterly academic data (assessments, etc)
  • Coverage data as appropriate (what standards, objectives are being addressed in tutoring)
Process How effective is the following and where are there opportunities to troubleshoot?
  • Collaboration with school sites
  • Collaboration between the provider and district
  • Collaboration between teachers and tutors
  • Data systems and technology
  • How will we communicate data on student progress to each stakeholder group?
  • How will caregivers and students receive updates on progress and who will share these updates with them: tutors, teachers, or both?
Data Reflection Protocol: In many cases, the provider will have an established data protocol and routine for reviewing and reflection upon data. However, if needed, you can implement this data reflection protocol, along with this guide on developing routines for regular data reflection.

How do you work with multiple providers?

Depending on your Focus Area, the size of your district, and the proposed scale of your tutoring program, your district may partner with several providers simultaneously. If so, it can be beneficial for your district’s project manager to hold group meetings with leaders from all providers as well as individual meetings with each one. How often groups of providers and the district should meet will depend on the level of program overlap, the importance of potential discussion topics, and the number of providers who will require cross-collaboration.

Multi-Provider Meetings: Collaboration Topics
If providers do not have overlap across schools, then a bi-annual meeting could be enough to build relationships and share best practices. However, if providers are working in the same schools, then more frequent meetings, quarterly at minimum, can help address challenges and cultivate collaboration.
Shared Vision for Collaboration
  • What is the district’s rationale for bringing in multiple providers?
  • How can different providers best collaborate?
    • Where can providers leverage each other’s systems or resources?
    • Where can providers support each other’s work?
  • What challenges can we foresee? How can we address them proactively?
    • What differences do providers have in their model or approach?
    • What key messages and principles should remain aligned for everyone?
    • Where might different providers run into conflicts (e.g., site selection, scheduling rooms and times for sessions, selecting students, etc.)?
    • How can we collaboratively resolve these questions ahead of time?
  • What joint collaboration systems or joint fundraising opportunities would help?
School Site and Student Selection
  • What is each provider’s model, and which students are they positioned to serve?
    • Which providers will be working in which schools, and why?
    • Which providers will be working with which students, and why?
    • If schools or students overlap, how will providers collaborate?
Reflection and Improvement
  • What data have each provider collected on student successes and struggles?
  • What best practices has each provider been using? Could other providers try them?
  • What implementation challenges is each provider facing? Any suggested solutions?
    • How could providers boost attendance through caregiver communication?
    • How could providers communicate better with teachers and school admin?
  • What feedback does each provider have on the district’s overall tutoring strategy?
Note: These meetings are important even if few actionable steps come out of them. Particularly when different providers tackle similar challenges but take different approaches, a territorial or competitive atmosphere can emerge. Multi-provider meetings can foster constructive relationships by giving all providers a structured time to share best practices, communicate openly and honestly about challenges, and celebrate each other's successes. The value of these meetings is not always quantifiable, but they can help cultivate an atmosphere of camaraderie and mutual trust among all providers.