March 2024

State Field Guide

A comprehensive resource for state leaders designing and implementing a statewide high-dosage tutoring program

Letter from Accelerate CEO,
Kevin Huffman

In the four years since the Covid-19 pandemic began, American education has faced its biggest challenge in decades. The unprecedented disruption in schooling set some students back a full school year or more — from a peak that wasn’t nearly high enough to begin with. Despite the hard work of educators, students, and families, learning recovery has been uneven, and the unacceptable gaps that have long existed between low-income districts and affluent districts have only grown. And yet, there’s a robust body of evidence that high-dosage tutoring and extended learning time can reverse learning loss and close gaps. Making these opportunities widely available to the students who can benefit most will not be easy, but it is possible.

State leaders have an opportunity — and a moral obligation — to craft a vision and operate with urgency, centering learning recovery as an integral part of their overall plans.

Accelerate works at the nexus of policy and practice. We’re constantly thinking about how to make high-dosage tutoring easier to implement at scale without compromising its effectiveness. The essential question is how to overcome the biggest challenges — staffing, scheduling, curriculum alignment, and cost — in every school and every district. In the past few years, several states have identified tutoring as a priority area and some — including our States Leading Recovery grantees in Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Louisiana, and Ohio — have already allocated funding for tutoring programs. That’s an important starting point, but state leaders must also ensure long-term success by developing smart policies, sustainable funding streams, guidance and incentives for districts that promote evidence-based strategies, and systems for tracking metrics at the student level.

As a former state education chief, I know these are not easy tasks — especially now, with Covid-relief dollars dwindling and staff spread thin across a growing range of challenges. That’s why we created this State Field Guide to serve as a blueprint for state leaders to create effective, sustainable tutoring programs that reach the kids who can benefit most. Importantly, this is structured for usability — state leadership teams should find strategies here that they can quickly move to adopt and implement.

We’ve learned a lot from our States Leading Recovery partners, and we encourage states to work together and learn from one another’s successes and challenges. We hope you will use this Field Guide as a map to help you and your colleagues create a successful tutoring initiative with the urgency kids deserve.

In partnership,

Kevin Huffman
CEO, Accelerate