learn / 2021
1,000 Good Tutors - Provide 1,000 tutors to 1,000 underserved LAUSD students to improve proficiency in English Language Arts and inspire a lifelong love of learning.
This grant is to triple the capacity of Good Tutors, a program currently providing customized 1:1 virtual tutors and book clubs to 400 PreK-12th grade students in underserved LAUSD communities. Organizations like LMU, Occidental College, and the Jewish Federation provide our volunteer tutors. What differentiates Good Tutors is that we ask each student- "what do you wish you could learn?" Our tutors are custom matched to fit the academic, social & emotional needs as well as the desires of each student to inspire a love of learning.
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- Central LA
- East LA
- San Gabriel Valley
- San Fernando Valley
- South LA
- South Bay
- County of Los Angeles
- City of Los Angeles
- LAUSD (select only if you have a district-wide partnership or project)
What is the problem that you are seeking to address?
Social isolation and COVID-19 learning loss have alarmingly widened gaps in academic performance that have persisted in LA County public schools for decades. LAUSD is the 2nd largest school district in the nation, serving 600,000 students, 80% of whom live below the poverty line. While parents in our underserved communities work tirelessly so that their children may attend college and the promise of a better future, language barriers are in the way. 61% of LA County parents are non-English speaking and typically unable to help their children with homework. Tutors or college guidance are inaccessible and unaffordable. The inequity in educational support has been further widened by the digital divide, a systemic lack of computers & internet access at homes in low income communities. As a result, many students unnecessarily wind up in remedial classes. While 82% of LA students graduate high school, only half meet UC / Cal State requirements and less than 34% attain a bachelor’s degree.
Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.
This grant provides funding to triple the capacity of Good Tutors, a successful ongoing 1:1 virtual tutoring program, currently serving 400 underserved students in LAUSD. Good Tutors exclusively focuses on students who are eligible for free and reduced lunch. Volunteer college and high school students, senior citizens, retired teachers, professors, and college guidance professionals offer 1:1 free virtual tutoring. A silver lining of COVID-19 is an unprecedented opportunity to narrow the digital and academic divide, thanks to the City of LA, LAUSD, and telecom carriers offering free devices & internet access. Good Tutors leverages this new online access to provide educational and emotional support to underserved LAUSD students. Good Tutors succeeds because we take the time to get to know each tutor, student and family. We purposefully pair them to meet our students’ academic and social & emotional needs. If the fit isn’t right, we find another tutor. We begin by asking- “What do you wish you could learn?” The curriculum is then custom tailored to the needs and desires of each student. Our program supplements students’ school-based learning. Volunteers help students with 1:1 homework and language support, host group book clubs, and explore the arts. All tutors are background checked through Megan’s Law, and tutoring takes place via Zoom. An empathetic heart, reliability, and subject proficiency are the principal requirements that we look for in our tutors.
In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?Expand existing project, program, or initiative (expanding and continuing ongoing, successful work)
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?
- Direct impact
- Indirect impact
Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.
Our goal is to continue innovating and scaling our program until 100% of PreK-12 students living below the poverty line in LA county have access to volunteer tutors and college guidance. We believe that Good Tutors will be an important contributor to achieving LA2050 LEARN and CONNECT goals such as ELA proficiency, college matriculation, volunteerism, and social & emotional support. Tutoring will make college a reality for students who never thought it was possible. With years of experience in 1:1 instruction, tutoring will inspire students to choose teaching as a profession. Our virtual tutoring program breaks down walls between diverse LA communities and encourages people young and old from multiple ethnicities and races to connect. Older sibling-like relationships form that we expect to last a lifetime. Thanks to Zoom, tutors are provided with a literal window into the life realities in communities they have never seen, which is an effective means to break down systemic racism.
What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?
Over the past 12 months with more than 12,000 tutoring hours, Good Tutors has proven that its 1:1 tutoring program has a meaningful impact on students and tutors. We define student success by increased academic performance and social & emotional growth. Parents, tutors, and teachers overwhelmingly report increases in grades, engagement, learning interest, and confidence. Some stories we celebrate include Sherry, a 6th grader who passed the reclassification exam, testing out of remedial classes, forever altering her future. The mother of Karie, a 3rd grade student, said Karie’s teacher asked- “what did you do to Karie? She’s ahead of everyone in math and confidently speaks up in class.” We also define success by impact on our tutors. Student tutors have formed school clubs to recruit tutors and share best practices. LMU partners with Good Tutors in their School of Education and Center for Service and Action. They report that their Good Tutors have grown and greatly enjoy the program.
Which of the learn metrics will you impact?
- College matriculation
- High school graduation rates
- Student proficiency in English & Language Arts
Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.
- LA is the best place to CONNECT