How Online Tutoring Programs are Being Used in U.S. Schools
The American Association of School Administrators began a program to enable U.S. Military children to receive online tutoring services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The students go online to receive expert one-to-one tutoring sessions in math, English, science and social studies. Tutors can be accessed any time of day with only an internet connection. Most students use online tutoring to complete homework assignments and prepare for state certification college tests from the convenience of their homes.
In addition to military students, all kindergarten through twelfth grade students have the opportunity to use online tutoring through their school programs. The U. S. Department of Education grants funds to schools under the Title I program to help low-achieving students achieve academic success. In 2009 to 2010 more than 56,000 schools across the country used Title I funds to provide both online and in-person academic support in core academic subjects. Out of 21 million students, approximately “59 percent were in kindergarten through fifth grade, 21 percent in grades 6-8, 17 percent in grades 9-12, 3 percent in preschool, and less than one percent ungraded.”
Another educational program that helps students use online tutoring is under the U. S. Governments Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Using this program, federal funds are allocated to schools to enable 6.5 million children with disabilities to receive online and in-person educational opportunities. Services are provided according to the abilities of each child and online tutoring services have enabled disabled children to compete with their peers in their academic programs.
After-school programs frequently implement on-line tutoring as part of their curriculum. These programs ensure children receive the help they need to excel academically. Many after school resources are recommended by the American Association of School Administrators including, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Afterschool Alliance, Afterschool.Gov, and National School Boards Association EDLO Resources. The C.S. Mott Foundation specifically grants funds to schools to help schools work with communities to provide year-round learning experiences for children. Their program, New Day for Learning, recommends online tutoring as one of the ideas to enhance the education of students.
The National School Boards Association also encourages Extended-Day Learning Opportunities (EDLO), including online tutoring programs, to supplement school academics and encourage students to continue learning and thrive when they are out of school. The public school systems of Alaska, Arkansas, California, Michigan, Montana, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island all participate in Extended-Day Learning Opportunity programs to ensure their students receive educational opportunities throughout the day and help them catch up on their academics if they are behind.
The Nellie Mae Education Foundation released a report, Critical Hours: Afterschool Programs and Educational Success on how after school programs effect the academic achievement and overall development of middle school students. In it they report that the Complete College America initiative created in 2009 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is now beginning to make colleges accountable for their graduates, not just their enrollment numbers (p. 13). This means that more and more schools will rely on online tutoring programs to help students maintain academic standards from kindergarten on up if their state school funds are based on academic achievement.
The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) focuses on providing schools with stimulus funding to implement Supplemental Educational Services (SES) to public schools to ensure children are receiving the educational assistance they need. They include online tutoring services given to low-income children in Title I schools who fail to make progress in a three-year period. If adequate yearly progress (AYP) is not achieved, schools are mandated to provide online tutoring to students. Online tutoring help is provided in mathematics, reading, art and language. School districts are required to inform parents whether their children are eligible for Supplemental Educational Services and this program has greatly increased the use of online tutoring programs.
The Road to Read program initiated by the federal government encourages families to become involved with online tutoring programs for both their children in school and for adult family members who are illiterate. This program encourages online tutoring to become a family project, not just a student activity. Poor reading skills inhibit success at all ages of life. The use of online reading tutoring programs can bridge the gap that schools are unable to meet.
Many online tutoring programs connect clients to federal programs to further enhance family participation in their children’s academics. One program, called the Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) works with parents of the very young to help them become comfortable continuing to teach their children. Hippy is now operating in 27 states to help pre-school students become comfortable with learning.
Online tutoring provides a vital service to schools and students. They can be a great addition to the educational system that transform unproductive students to enthusiastic students that excel in school.
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