San Joaquin A+ and Amira Learning bring high-dosage tutoring pilot program to district partners like Linden USD to help students catch up from pandemic learning loss

[April 25, 2023] Stockton, CA – On Tuesday April 25th, Amira Learning, San Joaquin A+, and Linden Unified School District joined with local leaders to share a first of its kind in San Joaquin County high-dosage tutoring pilot program in action – one that uses the Amira learning platform to help students make significant progress in reading.

“We are so thrilled to collaborate with educators and school leaders to bring this program to San Joaquin County and Stockton students,” shared Don Shalvey, CEO of San Joaquin A+. “We all know what a toll the pandemic took on student learning, so to have the opportunity to work together to bring a high-dosage tutoring initiative to our young people that will not only help elementary students catch up, but will also provide tutoring, mentoring, and teaching experience to high school students, is truly a win-win for all of us.”

In this unique pilot, Amira Learning and San Joaquin A+ are working with local schools in the Central Valley to hire high school students to tutor their elementary school peers using the Amira Learning platform. Research shows that high-dosage tutoring is beneficial for students, and peer tutoring allows for higher rates of student response and feedback, which results in better academic achievement. Amira Learning’s school product uses an AI platform to help students make significant progress in reading.

“Our students are loving the Amira program and working with their high school tutors,” added Jessica Riley, Principal of Waverly Elementary School. “They are building reading skills and love engaging with the interactive platform, while building relationships with older students who are teaching them how to approach learning in different ways than their teachers might.”

The event at Waverly Elementary School with Linden Unified School District showcased one site where this high-dosage tutoring pilot program is taking place. So far, teachers and students on campuses at Linden USD, ABLE Charter Schools, and at Aspire Public Schools campuses have been trained and are piloting the program this spring, with over 120 students receiving tutoring and 40 high school tutors participating across these school sites. The pilot program this spring will inform a larger high-dosage tutoring initiative to be rolled out in the 2023-24 school year with additional school partners. San Joaquin A+, Amira, and district and school partners hope to learn from this effort and expand the program to serve 800 students receiving tutoring and 200 paid high school tutors participating.

“We are really excited about this pilot program,” added Laura Glaab, VP of Customer Engagement & Strategic Initiatives, Amira Learning. “Amira is a learning platform that has been proven to bring real benefits to students when implemented well by local schools and teachers, but can sometimes be constrained by a lack of time or staff capacity,” she continued.  “We think this unique pilot brings an innovative solution to this issue by involving high school youth, and will provide an opportunity to scale the tutoring more broadly in a way that benefits all the students involved.”

Amira Learning is the first reading science-based intelligent tutor for students to accelerate English and Spanish reading mastery. Amira works with over one million students across 2,500+ diverse schools in the US and 15 countries outside the US. Within these schools, children regularly reading with Amira are growing twice as fast as kids who don’t use Amira. In addition, students learning English as a second language show greater acceleration in reading and speaking mastery than English primary students.

“As a Linden Board Member, it has been really exciting to see this tutoring initiative come together,” noted Marla Livingood, Board Member for the Linden Unified School District. “We look forward to learning from this pilot program to bring it to more and more students in our District, and ultimately to create a tutoring program that can be sustained to benefit students who need reading support in our schools long-term.”

Funding for this program comes from a unique mix of sources working together to benefit Stockton students. While all districts engaging in the program have federal stimulus money to support these efforts, Amira has also received a grant from the national Non-profit Accelerate, which has provided grant funding to help State education agencies and nonprofits with a statewide education focus to scale high-impact tutoring programs within their public schools. This funding will be used to support the program software, and will be supplemented by grant funding from the City of Stockton using State grant money that is being provided to create youth workforce opportunities. In this case, the high school tutors from Stockton will be paid using youth workforce dollars when the program moves into full implementation in the fall.

“We are so grateful to our non-profit and district partners for their efforts to bring this initiative to fruition,” Added Harry Black, the City Manager for the City of Stockton. “We have allocated over 2 million dollars for youth workforce initiatives, and creating a program designed to pay high school students to tutor their younger peers is a great example of how these dollars can be put to innovative and good use.”

To learn more about Amira Learning and the opportunities included in this partnership, you can view a webinar here.