Without a formalized tutor training program, South Tennessee Boys & Girls Club staff and volunteers were “just helping with children’s homework,” said Brady Hargrove, Academic Success Coordinator. “There was no intentionality for what they were doing. Now, Saga Coach gives tutors the tools to succeed,” he said.
Helping their tutors achieve proficiency in academic success is a big priority for this clubhouse. That’s why they made Saga Coach a requirement for all of its tutors.
Saga Coach is a free, self-paced online training portal that covers the essential components of effective tutoring. Based on Saga’s experience as a proven implementer of high-impact tutoring, the program focuses on three modules: Relationships, Ratio and Rigor.
“The most helpful module for me was rigor. You have to let kids struggle a bit. Don’t give them the answers right away. That’s when they learn,” said Hargrove. The other module that he connected with was about relationships. “You’ve got to slow down and make relationships before you can do any kind of teaching,” he said.
A.J. Guitierrez, co-founder of Saga Education, said that building relationships is “one of the primary hallmarks of our program.”
Along with providing tutors with the foundational skills needed to become effective tutors, Krista Marks, chief product officer for Saga Education, said, “Our research has shown that young people see an overall improvement in grades and self-confidence,” she said.
In fact, research from the University of Chicago’s Urban Lab shows that this program works. Saga has a significant impact on young people’s learning levels. Students learn 2.5 years of math in one year, and math failure rates are reduced by 63%. In addition, non-math courses have shown improvement as well.
Hargrove said he’s already seen positive results with his members. “In the semester before, the kid’s grades were quite average. Now, not one kid’s grade has gone down. Most kids have gone from a C to B+. I would highly recommend Saga Coach. I’ve already recommended this to other organizations,” said Hargrove.