Academic Tutors for Math is an SUHSD initiative informed by our district’s Math/Science Teacher Initiative (MSTI) partnership with San Diego State University. Since 2006, the SUHSD has worked with SDSU to increase the number of STEM teachers in our region by recruiting promising college students, placing them in teams at district schools, and supporting them to consider a career in teaching.
Key aspects of the MSTI model are presented here and below.
Funding for Academic Tutors for Math comes from SUHSD LCFF (Local Control Funding Formula) and MSTI (Math/Science Teacher Initiative) grant. Math tutors are often also funded by Federal Title I, Title III and related money.
Academic Tutors for Math advances SUHSD LCAP (Local Control and Accountability Plan) goals:
- Goal 1: Ensure excellence in teaching and learning so each student is prepared to succeed in college and career.
- Action step 2.m: Additional tutoring staff to support an increase in performance level in math and to ensure effective initial instruction that leads to student engagement and mastery.
- Action step 2.e: Paraprofessionals continue to support students’ individualized needs and support effective initial instruction that leads to student engagement and mastery.
Sites implementing a program of Academic Tutors for Math follow the processes outlined below to identify, hire, and place qualified individuals as tutors:
Major Project Goals:
- Improve students’ proficiency in critical skills and Standards for Mathematical Practice
- Engage students in collaborative inquiry and reasoning.
- Develop students’ academic language proficiency and disciplinary literacy
- Demonstrated success in at least college-level calculus (demonstrated through transcripts or evidenced by completing a performance task)
- Enrollment in two- or four-year college/university (at last 6 units)
- Demonstrated interest in supporting learning for diverse students
- Demonstrated ability to formulate content-based questions at a variety of levels
- Commitment to agency on behalf of diverse students
- Ability to commute to school site on regular basis (weekly)
- Academic schedule allowing for at least six hours of paid work weekly
Characteristics of Tutoring Model During the School Day:
- Students are organized into small groups of 3-5
- Tutors are scheduled and placed into classrooms in teams (ratio of 1:10, tutor:student)
- Teacher plans and implements task-based lesson during times tutors are present
- Students engage “group-worthy” task when tutors are present
- Tutors facilitate group interaction by asking questions
- Tutors assume primary responsibility for facilitating student interaction in 1-3 groups
- Tutors employ language acquisition strategies to elicit student voice
- Tutors work consistently with same groups for at least six weeks at a time
- Classroom teacher working with tutors serves as site lead (to schedule, communicate and problem-solve with tutors and others); s/he is compensated for one hour a week
Characteristics of Tutoring Model Beyond the School Day:
- Tutoring occurs in centralized location (Library, large classroom) where students are grouped at tables (not sitting in individual desks)
- Ratio of support includes 1 teacher for every 20 students; 1 tutor for every 10 students
- All participants (tutors, students, teachers) sign in and out daily (with time, subject, notes)
- Students receive evidence of successful participation in tutoring activities (via quarter-sheet “slip” or other means). Teachers may allow retests or submission of late work upon receipt of this evidence.
- Students are grouped according to goals or content (using table tents, etc.)
- Students who do not follow program rules are asked to leave and receive no credit for attending.
- Tutors elicit language from students and guide with questions (not answers)
- Tutors and teachers move about the room, facilitating interaction among students in various groups. They don’t plant themselves in a fixed location
- Teachers handle all discipline-related issues and engage students with questions. They don’t grade papers or work on lesson preparation while “tutoring.”
Additional Tips for Success:
- Teachers, tutors and students regularly contribute to program evaluation surveys to provide input
- Teachers generate feedback on tutor performance at least once every semester
- Tutors must notify cooperating teachers at least 48 hours before planned absence (study group, exam, etc.)
- Tutor program is multi-funded and integrated within Site Plan goals and outcomes
Current placement of Academic Tutors for Math (19-20) is linked here.