Following an announcement from the Illinois State Board of Education that certain school districts could apply for grant funds to provide students with high-impact tutoring opportunities, CCSD21 applied for and was awarded $138,444 to provide students with additional support and learning opportunities.
The organization had initially excluded CCSD21 from its list of eligible school districts for the grant funding, but due to the district’s Title I status, it soon developed its intent to apply and was accepted into the grant program.
The district intends to use the funds to recruit certified teachers and paraprofessionals to provide 1:1 and small group in-person tutoring to students in the areas of reading and math. Hourly stipends will be paid to staff working outside of their contractual time to provide tutoring to students, and the district will look to hire one or two part-time tutors to fill any gaps. These services will continue throughout the summer until all funds are exhausted.
“We’re hoping by early March that we’ll have some staff ready to work,” said Dr. Beatrice Reyes Childress, assistant superintendent for equity and learning. She added that more information about which students are eligible for tutoring will be shared prior to spring break.
Eligible students have been identified via NWEA-MAP and district common assessment data, and Childress is hopeful that about 200-300 kids across all grade levels who require Tier II and III support will benefit from this extra resource. Once assembled, the tutoring groups will likely stay at about five or under per adult.
A memorandum from Childress to Dr. Michael Connolly, CCSD21 superintendent, noted that all tutors must complete online professional development modules provided by Illinois State University before they can service students.
The memo also indicated that among the key elements the district is looking to implement using this grant funding include well-trained and consistent tutors, individualized instruction that aligns with curriculum and learning standards, one-to-one or small group delivery for at least three sessions per week, sustained support, data-driven progress monitoring of student growth, and in-person delivery of tutoring services.