Guilford County Schools in North Carolina Investing Deeply in Robust Tutoring Initiative

Guilford County Schools allocated nearly $10 million of its ESSER funds toward a high-dosage tutoring program, consisting of over 500 tutors and 4,000 students. This effort specifically uses data to identify participants through an algorithm that blends risk factors such as grades, test data, course failures, and absenteeism. The tutors work weekly with teachers by observing instruction, debriefing on students’ needs and progress, and planning next steps. Additionally, students work with the same tutor(s) over time to boost program effectiveness.

We are spotlighting this because high-dosage tutoring is one of the strongest investments states and districts are making nationally. This effort is all the more intriguing for its use of data to identify students at risk based on a variety of factors.

Reviewer Analysis

Leslie Villegas

The support for this investment is conditional because it is unclear how these students will be specifically identified and provided linguistically-appropriate tutoring services. Without this information is unclear whether ELs would benefit from such a significant and important investment.


Gathering and scrutinizing data is key to almost any academic strategy. We are encouraged that Guilford County Schools is taking a data-driven approach that considers multiple indicators to determine which students should receive access to high-dosage tutoring and accelerate learning. Beyond data to identify students, we are glad to see that approach continue into the way tutors are working to support teachers to personalize learning and reconnect students with their education. It is clear that Guilford County Schools has been thoughtful about implementing their high-dosage tutoring program well, working with their communities to design and realistically scale programs.

Southern Regional Education Board

What makes this program innovative is the collaboration among teachers and tutors (observation, debriefing on student needs, and planning). A couple of other data elements the district may consider are behavior and summative assessments.

New Leaders

This plan’s use of data and structures for partnership between the tutor and the teacher are promising, and will likely help to target students in most need of support. The evidenced-based practices (e.g., high-dosage tutoring, same tutor) are also encouraging. What training is being offered to tutors beyond instructional observation? What systems are in place to use data beyond initial identification?

The Bush Center

Strong thumbs up to this approach. It is research based, and it recognizes the reality that kids need adults to help them learn what was missed. It can’t be skipped - or assumed that it will be caught at some later point in the process.

Results for America

We love that Guilford County Schools is making their high-dosage tutoring program available to all students, while at the same time using data to prioritize outreach and support for students who need tutoring the most. The intentionality behind training new tutors, creating coherence between tutoring and classroom instruction and building relationships between students and teachers raise the likelihood that this will be a successful support.

Jocelyn Pickford

Using data to identify and direct resources to students most in need of acceleration is a best practice.

The Education Trust

This program draws on many of the practices that evidence shows are effective for targeted intensive tutoring: connecting tutoring to what is happening in the classroom; providing ongoing support to tutors; and engaging students with the same tutor throughout the school year. The use of multiple measures of data to target students’ needs is critical.

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