Setting: The tutoring occurs during the school day. The effects of programs conducted during the school day are roughly twice as large as those conducted outside of school. However, out-of-school tutoring programs can be effective if the necessary structures and systems are in place to ensure student participation and engagement.
Integration with School Schedule: If occurring during the school day, the tutoring program strategically considers the tradeoffs of students attending tutoring instead of alternative uses of time.
Curricular Alignment: If classroom instruction is based on rigorous and high quality materials, the tutoring program aligns to classroom curricula.
School and Teacher Engagement: The program regularly engages with school leaders and/or teachers regarding instructional alignment and student progress.
Caregiver Engagement: The program ensures regular engagement with caregivers and updates on student’s progress.
Student Enrollment and Retention: The program has a defined approach to enroll and retain students; particular attention is paid to reducing barriers to participation.
- Identify stakeholder groups based on tutoring program design. Common stakeholders groups are students, families, school teachers and administrators. This FAQ includes information on developing relationships with school and district staff.
- Clearly communicate the program’s model, purpose, and evidence to demonstrate alignment with students’, families’, teachers’, schools’, and OST program’s needs.
- Set joint goals with all relevant stakeholders and establish a system for regular updates on progress.
- When providing updates to students, parents, and/or caregivers, include all parties on communications. Research (see pg. 4) shows that communicating with students and their parents/caregivers can increase uptake rates in tutoring, which is especially important for programming occurring outside the school day.
- Make students, families, and schools aware of any terms or conditions for participation and actively seek affirmative agreements.
- Establish communication systems between stakeholders and tutors to ensure equitable collaboration and alignment with classroom curricula.
- Collect and act on feedback from administrators, teachers, parents and students to continuously improve effectiveness. Share actions taken with relevant stakeholders.
- If setting is in a school building:
- create program schedules that ensure student attendance enables 3 days of instruction each week
- designate classroom space for program
- If the setting is outside of a school building: identify strategies for recruiting students who would benefit from tutoring and actively provide information on its purpose and eligibility.
- Find ways to build confidence and joy into the tutoring experience.
- Build strong relationships with students.
- Build celebration into the setting where students are being tutored - this program profile from Step Up Tutoring highlights their intentional efforts to launch tutoring as an exciting opportunity for students.
Programs identify stakeholders (e.g., students, families, teachers, and school administrators) and establish why, when, and how the tutoring program/tutors will communicate with each stakeholder.
- It is critical for tutoring programs to identify stakeholders for regular communication. School administrators and teachers are best suited to inform if and how the OST tutoring program will directly communicate with families. The design of each program will determine the stakeholders with whom it communicates. OST program leaders can help foster these regular communications.
- The tutoring program will need to establish who will be in charge of communications with each stakeholder. For example, in some programs, tutors may communicate directly to families, while in other programs, the majority of family communication may be conducted by teachers. It is important to establish a communication plan upfront and share it with each stakeholder. Regular follow-up on attendance concerns will be extra important in an OST tutoring program.
- Common tutor/tutoring program communication often includes:
- Tutoring Program/Tutor communicates with school administration to facilitate student attendance and share regular updates on student progress and attendance
- Tutoring Program/Tutor engages with teachers and school leadership to support tutors’ understanding of student needs
- Tutor engages with teachers so that the tutor can share student attendance, progress, and seek input from the teacher regarding what to focus on during tutoring sessions
- Tutoring Program engages with school leadership and relevant teachers to better understand the school’s curriculum and how to complement this curriculum during sessions
- Tutor/Teacher engages with families so that families understand the expectations of the tutoring program, particularly for attendance in OST programming to meet the necessary dosage to impact student learning, and from whom they can expect communication
Programs engage in frequent, predictable, clear, dynamic communication with all stakeholders (i.e., students, families, teachers, and school administrators). Consider the following when planning stakeholder communication:
- Communication should be both regular and predictable. For example programs might do an end-of-the-week “wrap up” by either calling home or sending a progress report from that week. This is a strong opportunity to celebrate student attendance in addition to academic progress.
- Establishing predictability helps to create routine for those responsible for the communication, and also ensures that stakeholders know exactly when they should expect updates.
- Communication should be accessible and free of jargon. Communicate with families when possible in their home language.
- Clear systems of communication should be established for all parties. For example, in a letter home, you will want to share ways that a family can respond to the letter, detailing all methods for contacting the tutor or teacher.
- Communication with all stakeholders ensures that everyone supporting the student is working together effectively and efficiently towards the same, jointly-set goal.
- Regardless of whether your tutoring program’s main point of contact is families, school administrators, or students, all tutoring programs are more effective when other aspects of a student’s life (i.e., home and school) positively reinforce what the student does during tutoring — and when tutoring reinforces what the student learns at school and home.
Tutoring is integrated into students’ school and/or family lives in order to ensure curriculum alignment and cohesive student support.
- When the tutoring content aligns with the school’s curriculum, students can more easily connect tutoring topics to what they already know, resulting in higher retention of new ideas.
- When family, school, and tutoring are integrated into one cohesive support system for students, students can more easily make connections between their efforts in tutoring and success in class or at home completing independent assignments, helping them build a growth mindset.
- Determining how best to integrate tutoring into students’ lives will be dependent on the model design of each program. For example, if the program is located in a school, tutors may take advantage of opportunities such as connecting with students while they are in other programming. However, if the program is located outside of school, the program may find it worthwhile to encourage tutors to attend community events where they will be able to interact with families. Programs should consider what seems most appropriate based on the program design.
Strong, asset-based, culturally-responsive family and school relationships provide cyclical reinforcement for your tutoring program.
- Just as students have different needs, families and schools will also have different needs. Programs should build an understanding of the unique needs of each stakeholder and tailor their methods of engagement based on these needs. The better you know families, the easier it will be to engage them responsively. For example, knowing what times are best to call home based on family work schedules can ensure that you communicate with families at a time that works best for them.
- Students are more likely to engage when tutors establish a positive relationship that builds on students’ strengths, acknowledges their needs, and celebrates who they are.
- Tutors can work towards developing positive relationships with students by connecting with and learning from stakeholders who already know the students well. For example, tutors may want to learn from teachers about what typically motivates students in class, and what topics tend to interest them most. Tutors can learn from families about the child’s previous experience with school.
Strong stakeholder communication has a three-part structure:
- Kick-off Conversations. Start things off on the right foot. The tutoring program should coordinate initial conversations among stakeholders. These conversations should allow for teachers, administrators, and families to learn about the program’s goals and logistics, ask questions, and set a vision for their own involvement in the program.
- Continual Updates. Keep all stakeholders on the same page. To keep that initial vision alive, share student progress updates at predictable intervals, but also reach out proactively as needed when students are not on track or agreements from the kick-off are not met.
- Punctuated Reflection. Set aside time to reflect on progress. Tutors should routinely pause throughout the program to formally discuss students’ summative progress with all stakeholders (including students), listen to feedback, and adjust action plans as needed.