Mississippi students will soon have access to free online English and math tutoring programs 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Mississippi Department of Education has agreed to pay Paper, an online tutoring company, $10.7 million to provide live guidance and writing comments to students in grades 3 through 12. This opt-in scheme attracted 121 districts.
The American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund is funding the initiative, which will run until September 2024.
When presenting the service to the State Board of Education on Feb. 17, Marla Davis, associate superintendent of academic education, said, “Like many states across the country, we would like to use our (pandemic relief) funds to mitigate any learning loss that has occurred as a result of the pandemic.”
Tutors are college students, Ph.D. candidates, and teachers who can help in English, Spanish, French, or Mandarin, according to Paper’s website.
The length of a tutoring session and the number of sessions a student can begin are both unlimited. The state encourages 30-minute tutoring sessions three times a week, a strategy known as “high-dose tutoring,” but it is not required.
Teachers and administrators will be able to use the platform to track student activity and development to better inform instruction. Davis also stated that classroom teachers will receive professional development and technical support to enable them to use the platform, which is slated to begin by the end of March.
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Paper’s co-founder and CEO, Philip Cutler, said, “We’re thrilled to take this big step towards educational justice alongside the state of Mississippi.” “This program demonstrates that the Magnolia State’s top education leaders see tutoring as a critical academic resource, and we look forward to working with them to build a world-class educational system.”