Solutions to Common Barriers

High-impact tutoring is effective, but tricky to implement. However, there are many innovative solutions underway across the country. Several of these solutions (for instance, scheduling) must be bargained with the union. See Consider Bargaining and Advocacy Challenges for additional details. Below are some common barriers along with ways in which some districts and states are approaching solutions. 

Scheduling Tutoring into the School Day

Finding time during the school day for tutoring is challenging, but research shows that programs occurring during the school day have higher effects on student learning. Some key considerations include:

  • Tutoring is not a replacement of core instruction – it is supplemental – therefore, tutoring should not replace core instruction.
  • Tutoring should not replace critical social emotional development time.
  • Sessions should be at least 3 times per week and at least 30 minutes long, while older students can benefit from sessions that are 50 minutes to an hour.

Some successful solutions include:

  • Using an elective for tutoring
  • Using flex schedule blocks to incorporate tutoring
  • Using intervention periods for tutoring
  • Using time immediately before or after school as long as barriers to attendance are addressed

Detailed example schedules and solutions can be found here.

Tutor Recruitment

Research shows that a wide variety of people can become highly effective tutors, including certified teachers, paraprofessionals, college students preparing to teach. Below are several recruitment solutions that districts are currently using:

  • Recruit internally – schools should offer the opportunity to serve as a tutor to the staff in your school community such as ESPs, classroom teachers, SISPs, and paraprofessionals.
  • Recruit for your own district-run program – some districts also run their tutoring program directly and recruit from a number of sources including retired teachers, community members, and college students. For guidance, please refer to the Recruitment and Selection section of the Tutoring Toolkit.
  • Partner with a local college or university – some districts partner with a local college or university to either provide a tutoring program or support the district-run program. These can range from Educator Prep Program students earning course credit to students from any major using work-study funding. Examples include Grand Valley State University, Syracuse University, and Stanford University.
  • Leverage a state-level tutoring effort – many states sponsor state-level tutoring efforts that provide a list of vetted tutoring providers (e.g., TX, TN) or actual tutoring programs (e.g., IL, NC). For more details on other state efforts please refer to the State Tutoring Efforts Database.
  • Partner with a tutoring provider – if the district does not have the capacity to internally staff a tutoring program, some districts partner with a provider to provide some or the majority of the tutoring program. Potential partners include organizations such as Reading Corps for early literacy or Zearn or Saga for math. Please see this database of tutoring providers as well as this guidance for how to partner with a tutoring provider.