North Carolina state test results in the wake of the pandemic showed marked reductions in grade-level proficiency, but one high-impact tutoring program seeks to make a difference. Given the experience with virtual learning that was brought on by the pandemic, Teach For America is operating a virtual hybrid tutoring pilot program in a small number of North Carolina schools.
The Ignite Fellowship brings tutors into classrooms virtually, interacting with one to three students at a time, while an in-room trainer keeps things on track. Students receive high-impact tutoring three to four hours a week for 10 to 12 weeks per semester. The Ignite program began in Phoenix.
Dr. Monique Perry-Graves, Executive Director of Teach For America-North Carolina, said the individualized instruction paid huge dividends.
“Phoenix is where this was born,” Perry-Graves said. “They saw significant gains in learning, but also in a sense of belonging and love of learning that were fostered from the Ignite fellowship. The data from the other parts of the country that started this program is very strong, and we hope to replicate that in North Carolina. “
Teach for America reports that all the Phoenix partner schools chose to continue the Ignite program the following year.
Teach for America has been partnering with high-need schools to place teachers in classrooms for more than 30 years. Schools in Eastern North Carolina were among the initial cohort at the TFA launch in 1990. While TFA is still actively placing teachers in classrooms under the original model, Perry-Graves said the Ignite program brings a new approach to high-impact tutoring.
“The hybrid aspect is, the school will identify a trainer, and while the trainer is not facilitating tutoring, they are in the room while the tutoring is occurring to provide additional support,” she said.
The Ignite model as a virtual hybrid has the flexibility to fit into the school day at different times in different settings. Some programs focus on reading, others on math, but Perry-Graves said they work closely with schools to tailor the program to their needs.
“We really collaborate very heavily with our school partners on those types of things,” Perry-Graves said. “So, if they have a time period where supplemental learning is already planned, then that’s a perfect time for Ignite to fit into that schedule. Other times it may be more schedule-based on the particular class or topic. “
The Ignite program is under way this year in Bertie County Schools, Edgecombe County Schools and Henderson Collegiate Charter School in Vance County.
This story was written by Brett Peveto, a producer at Public News Service, where this story first appeared.