DC expands tutoring initiative to fight pandemic learning loss

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has announced plans to expand the city’s high-impact tutoring efforts in an attempt to further help students recover from the learning loss suffered during the coronavirus pandemic.

At a news conference, Bowser said $7 million in grants will be issued to nine organizations, which will provide students with English language arts and/or math tutoring before, during or after school.

The grants will help reach over 3,600 students, Bowser said. Anyone interested in tutoring will need to fill out a form.

It’s the city’s latest investment in the approach that experts say is effective in helping students learn. High-impact tutoring looks different at various schools but occurs in small groups, usually for at least a total of 90 minutes each week.

The investment comes in the wake of recent standardized test scores that revealed a widening gap for some of D.C.’s most vulnerable students.

“We didn’t just sign one contract to say tutoring should exist in one way,” Superintendent Christina Grant said. “Tutoring lives inside the school and is designed around the school community.”

The expansion will help D.C. exceed its goal of serving 10,000 students by September 2024, Grant said.

Six of the groups receiving grants will partner with schools, two will work in schools and communities at nonschool locations and one will offer tutoring exclusively in nonschool sites.

D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Lewis Ferebee said schools “monitor where students are academically, socially and emotionally” to determine which need the tutoring sessions and for how long.

The groups include:

  • American University
  • Dance Makers
  • Great Oaks Foundation
  • Horton’s Kids
  • Lana Learn
  • Multicultural Career Intern Program
  • Saga Education
  • The House
  • Tutor Partners

“Here in Washington, D.C., we want to normalize that extra help, and then we want to ensure that it’s done with a level of quality,” Grant said.

Arthur Mola, principal at the Cardozo Education Campus, said, “I’m happy to say that one of the best decisions that we could have made this year was agreeing to have a high-impact tutoring coordinator.”

Before announcing the additional investment in tutoring, Bowser reflected on her decision to close schools during the pandemic, something she called “one of the most difficult decisions of my tenure.”

“We are so proud of the work that all of our public officials, teachers, principals, janitors, nurses did to make sure we could get back in our buildings,” Bowser said. “But we are also challenged now to make sure we can get our kids back on track.”

Scott Gelman

Scott Gelman is a digital editor and writer for WTOP. A South Florida native, Scott graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019. During his time in College Park, he worked for The Diamondback, the school’s student newspaper.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up