SFUSD and SF Education Fund Partner to Provide Free Literacy Tutoring for 2,300 Students
San Francisco (March 10, 2022) - The San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) and the San Francisco Education Fund, a nonprofit that mobilizes the community to support equitable access to a quality education for SFUSD students, today announced a partnership to provide literacy tutoring to support the acceleration of student learning for students most affected by unfinished learning resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 2,300 San Francisco public elementary school students have begun working with credentialed teachers who tutor each student three times per week primarily outside of school time via an online, collaborative learning platform that offers intervention through guided reading lessons, gamification, and assessments.
SFUSD serves more than 49,000 students, over half of whom are faced with financial challenges and limited access to academic support beyond the classroom. This collective work accelerates academic learning gains for students who may not otherwise be able to afford expensive intervention. It seeks to address the challenges exacerbated by the sudden transition to distance learning during the pandemic.
Tutoring – particularly high-dosage tutoring that occurs at regular intervals – has emerged as one of the most effective intervention approaches to accelerate learning, stay in school, and graduate from high school. Experts say that access to tutoring is vital to combating unfinished learning resulting from the pandemic.
“SFUSD is committed to providing each and every student with an array of support for their academic growth. The tutoring this partnership is able to offer our elementary students will result in important gains for our elementary age scholars and help advance them to grade level in their reading,” SFUSD Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews said. “Literacy is the foundation for lifelong learning.”
Students from 19 San Francisco public schools currently have free access to BookNook, a national tutoring program that has access to over 100,000 credentialed remote reading tutors and a high-quality common core aligned curriculum. SFUSD is contributing over $1.3 million of one-time funds for learning recovery toward the cost of the tutoring with additional funds contributed from the Department of Children Youth, and Families (DCYF) and the San Francisco Education Fund. Based on the Science of Reading, BookNook’s standards-aligned supplemental curriculum maximizes literacy skills in optimal time-frames, often helping students see two years of literacy growth in one year’s time. Students in Kindergarten through 5th grade experience fun, interactive phonics, and comprehension lessons while also connecting with a caring adult tutor – all done entirely remotely via video calls. There are also Spanish language supports.
“Personalized tutoring is an incredibly effective way to ensure a more equitable educational experience for every San Francisco student," said Stacey Wang, CEO at the San Francisco Education Fund. "Through our partnership with BookNook and SFUSD, we are providing targeted and personalized virtual tutoring for those students who need this support most. High-dosage individualized tutoring is required to unleash the potential in every child and we're really encouraged by the impact we've seen so far.”
In partnership with DCYF, Bay Area Community Resources, and the YMCA of San Francisco, SFUSD and the SF Ed Fund served 1,000 students across 18 San Francisco sites in BookNook’s summer 2021 pilot program. Students who consistently used the program grew 30 percent of a grade level over the summer with no additional school programming. Over 90 percent of the pilot families stated that they would love to work with the BookNook program again.
Of the 2,300 students participating, over 1,300 SFUSD students are participating in BookNook’s literacy tutoring online from their school campus and over 1,000 are participating remotely from home. SFUSD teachers have shared that students participating in the literacy tutoring are highly engaged and motivated to use the program. The program is available for K-5 and is most highly recommended for students in 3rd-5th grade.