Beyond Chaos: Daily Small Group Tutoring Boosts Math Achievement

May 31, 2024
Maryellen Leneghan, Chief State & District Partnerships Officer at Saga Education, shares how Saga Education’s unique high-impact, small group tutoring model fosters a collaborative classroom environment to boost math scores.

Key Takeaways:

  • Unique and Collaborative Environment: Saga’s tutoring model moves away from traditional teacher-centered instruction. Students work in small groups with tutors, fostering a collaborative and engaging space for learning.
  • Daily Integrated Support: The tutoring happens within the school day and aligns with the core curriculum, reinforcing what students learn in class, not replacing it.
  • Focus on Relationships: Consistent pairings with tutors throughout the year help build strong relationships and a safe space for students to learn.
  • Qualified Tutors: High-impact tutors are adaptable and relationship oriented. They are adept in communication and interpersonal skills, and have a passion for education. Ongoing professional development is provided to equip tutors with the necessary skills.

Imagine walking through a bustling school hallway. Students enter their classrooms and are greeted by their teachers. You reach a room that sounds chaotic at first glance. But look closer. Students work in small groups with a tutor, collaborating and being actively engaged. This is the heart of Saga Education’s high-impact tutoring program.

Daily Support, Seamless Integration

Our program provides daily tutoring during the school day. It becomes a regular part of the student’s schedule, integrated with their core classes. For high schoolers, this might be an elective or an additional credit course. Middle and elementary school schedules can be more flexible, allowing tutoring to be incorporated during existing class periods. This ensures alignment with the core curriculum and eliminates scheduling conflicts. Teachers can continue delivering their lessons while tutors provide targeted support.

Strong Relationships, Powerful Results

We believe in the power of consistent pairings. Students are placed in small groups of two or three with the same tutor for the entire school year. This fosters positive relationships, collaboration, and a safe space for learning. Tutors are trained to anticipate student challenges and differentiate instruction to meet individual needs. They also build relationships with families, informing them of student progress through regular calls. 

Focus on Quality, Not Quantity

Our research shows that the sweet spot for student engagement is a two-to-one or three-to-one tutor-to-student ratio, which allows tutors to provide personalized instruction to their students and efficiently use everyone’s tutoring time. 

Collaboration is Key in Small Group Tutoring

Our school-based site directors are the backbone of the program. They collaborate with teachers, administrators, and department heads to ensure the tutoring curriculum aligns with core standards. Consistent communication builds trust and provides a smooth experience for students and staff alike.

Building the Dream Team

We take tutor selection seriously. Our rigorous process focuses on content knowledge, the ability to connect with students, and a growth mindset. We prioritize coachable qualities like communication, collaboration, and self-awareness, which are essential for success in our program.

Investing in Growth with Small Group Tutoring

Once hired, tutors receive extensive training. School-based site directors get three to five weeks of training and ongoing coaching. Tutors participate in a three-week pre-service program focused on relationship building, academic strategies, and high expectations. Additionally, they participate in weekly coaching, monthly professional development, and quarterly cohort-based training sessions.

Beyond Direct Services

Can you imagine walking through your hallways, visiting your classrooms, and seeing small group instruction driven by tutors supporting your teachers? If you can, then we want to support you and make this vision a reality! Saga’s expertise extends beyond our programs. We offer technical assistance and quality assurance to states, districts, and schools looking to launch or improve their tutoring initiatives. We provide the same structure, materials, and support in our direct services to help design, train, and maintain high-quality tutoring programs.

Building a Successful Program

Our experience highlights the importance of principal buy-in. When principals understand and support the program’s goals, it fosters a more welcoming environment for staff and students. Additionally, clear communication and alignment with the core curriculum are crucial for program success. The school-based site director is vital in ensuring seamless integration between the tutoring program and the school’s academic environment.

By focusing on these core principles, Saga Education creates a high-impact tutoring experience that empowers students, supports teachers, and strengthens schools.

Maryellen Leneghan boasts more than 13 years of experience in the field of education. She is dedicated to enhancing the development of young adolescents by surpassing educational benchmarks and demonstrating a passion for learning within and beyond the confines of the classroom.

Want to learn how high-impact tutoring can work in your district?

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