2022 Grants Challenge

High Dosage Tutoring for High Risk Youth

Researchers recommend high dosage tutoring as a key solution for helping students recover from the learning losses due to the pandemic. This project will provide high dosage tutoring for foster and systems-impacted students long challenged with attaining grade-level proficiency due to limited personalized instruction and quality and caring educational and social-emotional support. STEM, college and career-prep, and other activities will also be provided at group homes in South LA.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Support for Foster and Systems-Impacted Youth

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

South LA

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

Studies continue to confirm the impact of the pandemic on learning. A study by Curriculum Associates (11/21) says more students are two or more grade levels behind than before the pandemic. They also found that dips in grade-level proficiency in math and reading are larger in schools with more Black, Latino and low-income students. Most students in our South LA community were already far behind; for example, only 10% performing on grade level in math and 18% in ELA (2018-2019) at nearby LaSalle Elementary. The pandemic has deepened existing student achievement gaps across racial and economic lines. Our free private online tutoring has been in high demand among parents in our community seeking support to help students catch up with assignments and avoid losing more knowledge. Private tutoring, while common among more affluent families, is typically beyond the financial means of most families in our low-income community, particularly for foster and systems-impacted youth here.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

In March 2020 before the start of the pandemic, we had been piloting more personalized instruction at our youth center in South LA to help students reach grade-level proficiency. Ten Merrill Lynch reps met one-on-one with 10 Wooten youth, providing tutoring using lessons from i-Ready, an online diagnostic tool that assesses and addresses student challenges in reading and math. The pilot only lasted two weeks due to the pandemic but was enough time for us to see the value in one-on-one instruction for grade-level proficiency. We immediately began offering free virtual private tutoring to help mitigate the learning losses. Private tutoring at the Wooten Center includes i-Ready diagnostics and lessons based on student strengths and challenges. Students receive up to three 45-minute private tutoring sessions per week. Additional sessions are available for students who need it the most. The i-Ready lessons use adaptive learning to meet students where they are, helping them achieve both remediation and acceleration. Other educational support services will include STEM classes such as robotics and computer animation, college and career-prep via planning and advisement sessions, and social-emotional learning and parent engagement via discussion groups and family counseling.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Our overall goal is to help at least 40 foster and systems-impacted students attain grade-level proficiency and promotion, high school graduation, and college and career access and success. The project will serve as a model for group homes in the South Los Angeles area and beyond to adopt a high dosage tutoring model and other quality educational support services to help students attain college and career access and success. We will share our program model and materials with group homes to adopt at their sites for an indirect reach of at least 400 additional students in the program year.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Our three primary outcomes to evaluate students’ progress are: 1. 80% of students completing three or more lessons per week for at least six months will increase their proficiency in reading and/or math. 2. 20% of students completing three or more lessons per week for at least six months will score on grade level in math and/or reading. 3. 80% of students completing three or more lessons per week for at least six months will be promoted to their next grade level or graduate high school. All lesson planning for our STEM and other activities to be provided are based on our STEP Model for activities that are Self-Directed, Team-Oriented, Experiential and Project-Based. The results are students engaged in our four C’s for college and career readiness: Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication, and Creative Expression.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 40

Indirect Impact: 400