Tennessee Tutoring Corps to expand this summer

The Bill and Crissy Haslam Foundation, in partnership with youth-serving organizations across Tennessee, last week launched the second year of the statewide Tennessee Tutoring Corps program to provide summer learning opportunities for rising 1st – 4th grade students who have fallen behind academically due to the education disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We launched this program last year to address the ‘summer slide,’ a very real problem each year that was made significantly worse by students being out of school for so long because of COVID-19,” Bill Haslam said. “Building on what we learned from the latest education research as well as student outcomes and tutor input from last year’s pilot, we are excited to continue the program this summer and to serve as one piece of the puzzle in supporting Tennessee’s youngest and most vulnerable students.”

Data released in February 2021 shows the greatest learning losses among first and second grade students in reading; according to Hechinger Report, “40 percent of first grade students and 35 percent of second grade students are ‘significantly at risk’ of needing intensive intervention compared to 27 percent and 29 percent last year.”

Recent research also confirms widespread learning losses are exaggerating racial and socioeconomic disparities, with Hispanic and Black kindergarten and first grade students falling further behind than their White peers.

Education experts have identified “high-dosage” or “high-impact” tutoring, defined as one-on-one or small group tutoring that takes place at least three times a week for a sustained period of time, as an effective strategy to reduce COVID learning losses and help students get back on track.

Students participating in the 2020 TTC were assessed both at the beginning and end of the program. After completing between 7 and 8 weeks of tutoring, the average national percentile rank increased across all grades and subjects with the largest gains in grades K-2 and in math.

TTC aims to recruit at least 1,000 qualified college students or recent graduates to tutor rising 1st – 4th grade students. This year’s TTC is expanding to additional Tennessee counties through new partnerships with 50 youth-serving organizations, including charter schools, YMCAs, and Boys and Girls Clubs across the state.

“Our goal is to attract and recruit tutors who care about their communities, want to make a difference during what continues to be a difficult time, and want to help younger students keep learning throughout the summer,” Crissy Haslam said. “We learned a lot from our tutors last year and look forward to putting that information to use to make the experience even better. We are also excited that the program introduced college students to the profession of teaching, some of which had not considered that as a career path before.”

In a post-program survey, 85 percent of tutors reported building meaningful relationships with students, and nearly all tutors (98 percent) said they would recommend the Corps experience to other college students.
Qualified tutors must be current college students or have been out of college for only a year and must pass a background check. Preference will be given to those who have a 3.0 GPA or higher, have at least completed their freshman year, and are Tennessee residents.

Interested candidates can learn more and submit an application on the Tennessee Tutoring Corps website at www.tntutoringcorps.org. The deadline for applications is 11:59 a.m. EST on Tuesday, April 27.
TTC will begin June 7 and run eight weeks, concluding in August. More information is available at www.tntutoringcorps.org.