The Tennessee Department of Education announced 79 school districts — over half of all districts in the state — intend to participate in the Tennessee Accelerating Literacy and Learning Corps tutoring program to mitigate learning loss and accelerate student achievement.
The participating districts, which includes Rutherford County Schools, and the department will invest a projected $200 million in federal education funding in TN ALL Corps tutoring supports which stands to benefit nearly 150,000 Tennessee students over the next three years.
TN ALL Corps is a matching grant opportunity to empower districts to implement or strengthen tutoring supports for students in low ratios and at a high dosage, with TN ALL Corps tutoring occurring for small groups of students in 30–45-minute sessions, two to three times per week.
This approach in combination with summer programming will provide students with 250-500 additional hours of academic instruction over the next three years and two summers.
"Through TN ALL Corps, Tennessee can dramatically increase the amount of learning time children have access to, which will accelerate student achievement," said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. "We know high dosage, low-ratio tutoring works, and we are thrilled to see over half of our districts sign up to participate in this program that will help ensure Tennessee students are on track and on a path to success."
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Throughout the pandemic, Tennessee has led the nation in providing academic supports for students.
In January 2021, Governor Lee convened the Tennessee General Assembly for a special legislative session to pass policies to help mitigate COVID-19 disruptions and support Tennessee students.
Structured tutoring programs have been proven to significantly increase student achievement. As part of the Tennessee Learning Loss and Student Acceleration Act passed in the special session, the TN ALL Corps will support students across the state by providing access to tutoring in both English Language Arts (ELA) and math.
As the state has implemented strategies and policies to support students during the pandemic, more than $4 billion in federal COVID-19 education funding has also flowed to Tennessee school districts to help students and schools recover and accelerate. The federal government is requiring districts to spend a portion of their funding, a minimum of 20% of their Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) 3.0 funding, to address learning loss. Districts may satisfy the federally required learning loss investment through participation in TN ALL Corps.
With such an historic amount of federal funding available to local districts, the department created the Best for All recognition program to reward district investments in programs or initiatives that are most likely to benefit students. To qualify for the Best for All recognition program, a district or charter school must spend 50% of its ESSER 3.0 award amount on academics and participate in the TN ALL Corps program.
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To support districts and increase the investment in tutoring supports, the department developed a financial match model for the TN ALL Corps grant opportunity. For every student tutored, the department will provide $700 per student per year, while a district contributes $800 per year per student. This amount covers at least 15% of district students in 1st – 8th grades in year one.
Districts were able to select the structure of tutoring, the staffing, and the students served, with the goal of providing high dosage low ratio tutoring.
For additional flexibility, districts can choose when to launch TN ALL Corps programming, as an early adopter in August and September 2021 or as part of the year one cohort in January 2022.