Small, Two-School District Delivers High-Impact Tutoring Before and After School

Las Lomitas Elementary School District  Menlo Park, Calif.

Challenges

Students with learning recovery concerns needed personalized instruction to fill the gaps.

There was not enough staff in a small district to reach students with 1:1 support.

In a small district like ours, there is no way I could have found 25 or 30 individuals to do 1:1 tutoring at the same time.

Results

Improvements

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Removed barriers to support by customizing schedules to accommodate the needs of students and their families

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Improved academic performance for students who participated in tutoring

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Provided an additional caring adult for students to build authentic relationships with

Grades

K-8

Students

1,116

Free/reduced lunch access

6.5%

English language learners

6.3%

Students with disabilities

13.7%

White

53.2%

Asian

18.3%

Two or more races

13.6%

Hispanic or Latino

13.1%

African American

0.9%

Filipino

0.5%

American Indian

0.2%

Pacific Islander

0.2%

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Small, Two-School District Delivers High-Impact Tutoring Before and After School

Las Lomitas Elementary School District (LLESD) is a small suburban district at the eastern edge of San Mateo County in the San Francisco Bay Area. The district comprises two schools: Las Lomitas Elementary, a K-3 school in Atherton, and La Entrada Middle School, a 4th-8th grade school in Menlo Park.


Both schools consistently rank among the top schools in California. Yet, excellence in LLESD is never taken for granted. The district continually strives to raise the bar, providing students with increased educational opportunities.


After receiving federal COVID relief funds, LLESD decided to invest in tutoring. “We weren’t providing any tutoring at the time,” said Shannon Potts, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for LLESD. “We wanted to use the COVID funding to implement a tutoring program for students with learning recovery concerns.”

It would not have been possible to provide tutoring without Littera. In a small district like ours, there is no way I could have found 25 or 30 individuals to do 1:1 tutoring at the same time.

Providing individualized support to every student who needs it

LLESD partnered with Littera Education in 2021 to provide high-impact tutoring in reading and math. “Our goal with Littera was to fill the gaps for students who needed personalized instruction,” said Potts.


The elementary and middle school began working with Littera tutors and their Tutoring Management System (TMS) in August 2021. The TMS makes it easy to provide large-scale tutoring to many students by reducing the work involved in program management through automated scheduling, tutor-student matching, and program reporting.


“It would not have been possible to provide tutoring without Littera,” said Potts. “In a small district like ours, there is no way I could have found 25 or 30 individuals to do 1:1 tutoring at the same time. With the current labor shortage in education, it is well worth the cost to have the extra support.”

It was a very collaborative process with Littera. We wanted to eliminate all barriers to students receiving the extra support, so we designed our program to meet the needs of our students and their parents, too.

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Customizing a tutoring program to meet students’ and parents’ needs

LLESD worked closely with Littera to design a tutoring program to meet the needs of its students and families. The tutoring was delivered four times a week for 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after school. Tutoring was also offered in the evening if that worked better for parents’ schedules.


“It was a very collaborative process with Littera,” said Potts. “We wanted to eliminate all barriers to students receiving the extra support, so we designed our program to meet the needs of our students and their parents, too. Littera was extremely flexible in working with us to ensure all students had access to tutoring.”

8

Sessions per week

30

Minutes per session

Providing consistent instruction

LLESD students in grades 1-6 were selected for tutoring based on reading and math assessment data, and teacher recommendations. During the 2021-22 school year, approximately 25 to 30 students at a time participated in 1:1 and small group sessions with Littera tutors before and after school. 


For most students, the tutoring focused on reading. The reading tutoring curriculum (Teachers College Reading and Writing Project), chosen by the school and delivered by Littera tutors, encompasses foundational reading skills including phonics, vocabulary, and fluency, as well as fiction and nonfiction comprehension. 


“Working with the same reading curriculum we use during the school day helped provide consistency in the delivery of the tutoring sessions,” said Potts. “We also had a few math tutors for students who needed extra support there.”

Focusing on relationships first between tutors and students

To build rapport between tutors and students, Littera pairs students with the same caring adult. Tutors and students meet in a secure virtual classroom with embedded lessons, live audio/video, and an interactive whiteboard. 


“The power of the Littera program is that it is a live interaction between the tutor and student,” said Potts. “Students really enjoyed the relationships they developed with the tutors. It was evident in the conversations we had with students and parents, and in what I observed as well.”

We’re assessing our needs right now, based on students’ data. Looking at our program with Littera last year, we know that students enjoyed the tutoring. They read more, they had another caring adult in their life, and they improved.

Planning for the new school year

LLESD looks forward to continuing its partnership with Littera in the 2022-23 school year. 


“We’re assessing our needs right now, based on students’ data. Looking at our program with Littera last year, we know that students enjoyed the tutoring. They read more, they had another caring adult in their life, and they improved,” said Potts. “Everyone we’ve worked with at Littera has been amazing. They are extremely attentive and timely.”