Our company, Common Ground Tutors, provides high-dosage tutoring to K-12 schools, so I was happy to see the editorial on high-dosage tutoring (“Back-to-school assignment for Chicago schools: Go all out on ‘high dosage’ tutoring” — Aug. 21).
We had a booth last month at a national conference of elementary and middle school principals and were surprised to find a lot of principals and administrators had not heard of high-dosage tutoring. This was in sharp contrast to the ASU+GSV Summit in April, where high-dosage tutoring was a hot topic.
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Many of the school officials we talked with at the principals’ conference have their own in-house tutoring, but unfortunately, the majority of those programs are after school. Attendance and engagement in after-school tutoring tends to be low, and the students who need the most help often are unable to participate.
High-dosage tutoring became popular in the last few years as a way to overcome learning loss from the pandemic. As you point out in the editorial, it’s an excellent tool to help close the learning and opportunity gaps, and we hope school administrators will find the funding to keep such programs alive after federal pandemic funding runs out.
For high-dosage tutoring programs that are virtual, we are able to attract certified and retired teachers to tutor high-need students. And students develop a long-term relationship with their tutor, which is key to academic and social-emotional learning.
Often, students just need someone by their side who cares for and supports them with words of encouragement. At a recent webinar on high-dosage tutoring, all the teachers nodded in agreement about this matter. Personal attention from a tutor is key, as most students feel lost in a large classroom of 25 to 30 students.
Sonia Lal, Naperville
Honoring 60th anniversary of King’s speech
Monday is the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, but it was something far greater than a speech. It could also be called a sermon. Right before King was introduced, Mahalia Jackson sang the powerful spiritual “How I Got Over” that made the scene churchly for King.
His father and grandfather were preachers. King was a born preacher, glad to preach at the march. It needed some inspirational preaching for a grand finale. The marchers became King’s congregation, and they experienced the wonder of a brilliant, passionate sermon. A sermon can uplift people more than any speech by a politician. King was in accord with the 18th century Quaker preacher William Penn: ”Right is right, even if everyone is against it, and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it.”
Our troubled society has pervasive violent crime, surging mental illness and many divisive politicians. That awful reality clearly demonstrates King-like preaching is needed now more than ever.
Jesse Prince, retired circuit court judge, Orland Park