The pandemic’s learning disruptions caused devastating impacts on students, according to education leaders serving low-resource communities in Compton. To address the learning gaps, educators at Ánimo Compton Charter School, a Grades 6-10 Span school, are implementing a High-Impact Tutoring (HIT) program that offers students individualized support in critical math and literacy coursework.

The program focuses on the many challenges students are experiencing, including significant learning gaps, the use of new technologies, and the fact that many students missed acquiring new skills and knowledge while learning online. 

Ánimo Compton is one of six High-Impact Tutoring programs launched in Oct. 2021 by Green Dot Public Schools California, a public charter school operator.

“During the 18 months that students were away from campus, we continued to educate students to the best of our ability; the physical distance exacerbated learning loss and widened the gaps that many of our students experience,” said Dr. Chaleese Norman, principal at Ánimo Compton Charter School. “The question before us is: How do we help heal some of the trauma students may have experienced and address learning gaps? We can’t approach this as if nothing happened.” 

To support the program, the school hired new staff to tailor student lessons based on benchmark data and provide reinforcement to instruction taking place in the classroom. Across Green Dot, at the mid-year testing point, students in the High-Impact Tutoring program showed growth at a rate 50 percent higher than their peers (Non-HIT students grew an average of 13 points, HIT students grew an average of 20 points on the iReady assessment). 

Those students also met stretch goals (target growth that puts them back on track to perform on grade level) at double the rate of their peers (20 percent of HIT students met these goals at the mid-year testing point while 10 percent of non-HIT students met them). Students in HIT also showed higher average daily attendance, time on task and completed coursework at higher rates.

The program’s goal is to meet with students three times a week for 45-minutes at a time. Students are gathered in groups of no more than four for individualized tutoring. The focus on smaller groups builds specific skills, scope and sequence. Tutors build relationships with students in order to get to know their needs and better support them.

“The pandemic was hard, but we’re now able to reinvent and reimagine education and supports,” said Alyce Prentice, who leads the framework for the Green Dot program. “High-Impact Tutoring is one of several initiatives by Green Dot focused on learning acceleration. We also developed Acceleration Academies in conjunction with curriculum specialists that offer math and English intervention, a “Más Ánimo” campaign offering students enrichment opportunities in collaboration with afterschool partners, and Intellectual Preparation to support teachers.” 

The Acceleration Academies provide 25 hours per week of individualized support for groups of 15-20 students at a time, while Más Ánimo offers students opportunities to engage in extracurriculars, connect and lead. The Intellectual Preparation program instructs teachers to utilize data to teach from grade level standards rather than remediate.

“We are making progress, especially because anytime assistance is offered that focuses on individualized skills, the likelihood of success is exponential,” said Norman. “However, we can’t do this alone. We need to help our families understand the importance of their partnership with schools, especially in the upper grades where we begin to see parental complacency. We need to do more,” she added.

For more information regarding high-impact tutoring at Ánimo Compton Charter School and/or Green Dot Public Schools California, contact Evelyn G. Alemán at  evelyn@mipr.net. 

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