Project Leader: CityTutor DC
CityBridge Education, a non-profit dedicated to incubating the people, ideas, and conversations necessary for equity-driven innovation in DC education, seeks a Project Leader to develop and execute a citywide plan for reversing the pandemic-induced learning loss of DC students through tutoring and coaching. To stand up this effort, called CityTutor DC, the Project Leader will serve as a full-time contractor to CityBridge for 12 to 18 months. Reporting to Arthur McKee, Senior Director of Research and Special Projects, the Project Leader will collaborate with and be supported by key CityBridge staff in strategic planning, research, stakeholder engagement, and driving continuous improvement. Depending on the specifics of the plan developed, the Project Leader may be able to bring on additional staff support to bring this initiative to fruition.
We are looking for a visionary leader, comfortable working in ambiguity, who is also an agile and skillful executor, focused on achieving ambitious outcomes for DC’s young people. To apply, send a resume, cover letter, and, if it would be helpful to understand your track record, a list of significant projects you have led as a consultant, to Arthur McKee at firstname.lastname@example.org by February 1st.
About CityTutor DC
The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted schooling, traumatized students and caregivers, and widened already significant opportunity gaps between privileged and marginalized students in DC. Despite the heroic efforts of DC educators and families, remote learning has not been able to make up for the benefits of in-person education that is grounded in relationships with teachers and peers and powered by high-quality instruction and curriculum.
While we will not fully know the impact of the pandemic on learning until students are back in school, the data we do have paint a dire picture. Already, by the end of 2020, DC students overall have lost the equivalent of a month’s worth of learning in reading and four months in math. Students deemed “at risk of school failure”—who make up almost half of all DC students —have probably lost four months in reading and six months in math. 1 Particularly for younger students who have not yet learned to read as well as for older students transitioning into more conceptual areas of math, these learning losses can have devastating, life-long consequences.
A Promising Solution: High-Impact Tutoring and Student Success Coaching
High-impact tutoring can accelerate learning to the velocity necessary to reverse some of these learning losses. A recent review of gold standard scientific studies of high-quality programs has shown that they can move students from the equivalent of the 50th percentile in a subject to the 66th percentile. 2 A high-quality high school tutoring program in Chicago was able to help students make one to two years worth of additional gains in math in a single year. 3
In addition to academic tutoring, students need people who build relationships with them, talk with them about the challenges they’ve faced during the pandemic, help them stay focused on their goals, and reconnect them with school. Such student success coaches can be near-peers who can bring an awareness of community strengths, concerns, and relationships that people more narrowly focused on math and reading may lack.
Launching CityTutor DC
CityBridge envisions leading a response to meet the needs of the roughly 9,500 elementary and middle school students who face the most severe learning losses in early reading and middle-year math. Our effort will be highly inclusive, being sure to embrace students with disabilities, English Learners, and others who have been particularly vulnerable during the crisis.
To achieve our goal of reversing learning loss through the expansion of high-impact tutoring, our effort, CityTutor DC, will partner with existing organizations in the city. CityBridge anticipates helping to build these organizations’ capacity to recruit, train, and place tutors and coaches, coordinate their efforts with key stakeholders, and work with them in creating a collective practice of continuous improvement. In addition, CityBridge will consider either supporting the entry of additional organizations from outside the city or creating new organizational capacity directly.
With the support of CityBridge staff, the work of the Project Leader will proceed roughly in these phases:
Phase 1 — Strategic planning and stakeholder engagement (February-March 2021): Building on research and conversations already undertaken by CityBridge staff, the Project Leader will engage with key stakeholders (tutoring organization EDs, higher education leaders, service education leaders, school leaders, family-serving organizations) and develop a plan for action. Among the key questions this plan will address:
- How can we demonstrate that high-impact tutoring meets the crucial needs of key stakeholders (parents, school leaders, community leaders) and thereby stimulate demand?
- How will expanded tutoring and student success services be delivered?
- What standards should providers connected with this effort adhere to?
- What are the chief obstacles to ramping up capacity and how might CityTutor DC overcome them?
- How can CityTutor DC facilitate real-time organizational learning and continuous improvement?
- How can the funding necessary for this effort be mobilized? (CityBridge is already raising funds to lead and support this initiative, but paying for the costs of recruiting, training, and compensating tutors at this scale will require even more funding. There are plans in play at the city and federal level which could provide significant dollars for a large-scale expansion of tutoring.)
Phase 2 — Building the consortium and piloting (March-May 2021): The Project Leader will form a consortium of organizations that will be directly involved in the CityTutor DC initiative. The consortium will include tutoring organizations, DCPS and public charter schools, higher education institutions, family-serving organizations, and others. The purpose of the consortium will be to maintain high collective standards of practice in tutoring, market the benefits of the initiatives to parents and other stakeholders, and overcome bottlenecks in supply, particularly in tutor recruiting,
As the consortium and plans take shape, the Project Leader will also lead pilots in recruitment, tutoring delivery, and innovative approaches. Will, for example, a citywide online clearinghouse help increase the flow of tutors to tutoring organizations? Can community learning hubs, which already have demonstrated that they can support remote schooling safely, become centers for remote tutoring as well? These pilots will be informed by engagement with stakeholders and the emerging plan of action.
Phase 3 — Execution of plan (June 2021-July 2022): The plan, which the Project Leader will have developed and adjusted with stakeholder input and approval from CityBridge, will be implemented with the goal of providing high-impact services to students in need as quickly as possible. We foresee that the project will come to an end by the end of the school year 2022 with the probable end of city and federal funding. But should the Project Leader be able to develop a path for continued viability for CityTutor DC, CityBridge will certainly be open to extending this work further and possibly enabling the Project Leader to take on a leadership role in what could become a fully established organization.
What We Are Looking For
- Deep commitment to racial equity as evidenced by a track record of overcoming practices that exclude and diminish people based on their identity, particularly their racial identity, and creating a sense of belonging.
- History of leading groups of people and/or organizations to set and achieve big goals
- Ability to articulate a bold vision for the future and be creative about mobilizing the resources necessary to achieve it, despite setbacks.
- Accurate sense of their strengths and areas where they need to improve, and capacity for responding effectively to feedback
- Strong written and verbal communication skills
- Proven capacity for quantitative and qualitative analysis, drawing on data from multiple sources to generate insights
- Demonstrated effectiveness as a facilitator
- Ability to prioritize issues strategically
- Success in distributing leadership, such that colleagues and partners feel ownership and accept accountability for tackling important aspects of work on a project or initiative
- Expertise in tutoring a plus but not required
Ideally, the Project Leader will have significant leadership experience in schools or student support organizations.
CityBridge Education is actively working to build a pool of candidates for this position whose background reflects those of the students this initiative will serve.
CityBridge envisions that the total compensation to the Project Leader will be approximately $150K per year.
To apply, send a resume, cover letter, and, if it would be helpful to understand your track record, a list of significant projects you have led as a consultant, to Arthur McKee at email@example.com by February 1st.
- Empower K12, COVID-19’s Impact on Student Achievement and Student Growth in DC, December 16, 2020. Students are deemed at-risk if their families receive welfare or SNAP benefits, if they are in the foster care system, if they are homeless, or if they are over age/under-credited high school students. Roughly 47% of students in DC are deemed at-risk.
- Abdul Latief Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), Evidence Review — The Transformative Potential of Tutoring for PreK-12 Learning Outcomes: Lessons from Randomized Evaluations, November 2020
- Roseanna Ander et al., Improving Academic Outcomes for Disadvantaged Students: Scaling up Individualized Tutorials. (Brookings Institution, March 2016)