Request for Letters of Interest
CityTutor DC, a coalition of organizations committed to expanding high-impact tutoring to address the impact of the pandemic, is looking to partner with organizations that would like to incorporate tutoring into the range of services they provide young people. These CityTutor Hubs would begin operation this fall with the financial and programmatic support of CityBridge Education, which is coordinating the work of CityTutor DC.
By helping to establish these hubs, CityTutor DC aims to:
- Provide high-impact tutoring along with other non-academic supports to students (such as arts enrichment, sports, mentoring, and so forth) to promote their overall well-being
- Extend high-impact tutoring to students whose families may not send them to in-person school
- Test ways of building on the trusting relationships that community-based organizations have to expand access to tutoring
- Expand and strengthen the coalition of organizations in CityTutor DC, especially those serving students whose families are experiencing poverty and/or collecting public benefits such as TANF and SNAP
Generally speaking, high-impact tutoring should be provided three times a week for 30 to 60 minutes each session to be effective. Tutoring at the hubs will focus on early literacy for students in kindergarten through third grade and/or math for students in middle school (grades 5-8) and will serve at least 50 students consistently. Whenever possible, a student should be paired with the same tutor to build and maximize strong relationships.
CityTutor DC envisions that organizations serving as hubs would offer enough time and space for tutoring sessions to take place along with other programming they provide. The locations can be anywhere partner organizations have or can establish regular access to such as their own buildings, schools (if they are an after-school program working at a school), Department of Parks and Recreation sites, libraries, and so forth.
We envision two main types of CityTutor Hubs:
- Out of school time, youth development, and family-serving organizations with strong connections with young people who want to add tutoring in early literacy or middle school math to the range of activities they are already providing.
- Example: A prospective partner operates to nurture healthy child development for children experiencing homelessness, primarily with after-school programming at a shelter. With the support of CityTutor DC, the partner would train staff on a high-quality scripted curriculum to add tutoring to the services they provide.
- Example: A prospective partner provides academic enrichment programming at the school site after school. With the support of CityTutor DC, the partner would add high-impact tutoring to the enrichment services provided at that school site.
- Organizations that are providing physical space for remote learning in the fall of 2021 (and possibly beyond). While the pandemic may have largely subsided, some families may still keep their students from school.
- Example: A prospective partner organization provides supervised space for students to engage in remote learning with their schools online and has been doing so during the 2020-21 school year. In 2021-22 with the support of CityTutor DC, the organization will add 30-minute daily tutoring blocks and an elective of the student’s choice such as a physical activity, craft, or game that fits into the student’s school schedule.
- Support for tutoring: CityTutor DC will underwrite the costs of the tutoring itself, up to $75,000 for the full school year. These funds can be used to defray the expenses of a third-party tutoring provider subcontracted by the partner organization or for tutors employed by the partner organization itself.
- Capacity-building grants of up to $20,000: These grants can be used for planning, paying staff to supervise tutoring, WiFi, recruitment, and outreach—anything that might be needed to ensure that tutoring can operate successfully.
- Research and evaluation: CityTutor DC is committed to analyzing data and evaluating the impact of tutoring and its partnerships. Organizations that partner with CityTutor DC will be able to use these analyses to improve their programming. Note that organizations that choose to partner with CityTutor DC will be expected to share data related to tutoring and student well-being.
- Participation in a community of practice: CityTutor DC will convene community partners and schools together to share best practices.
- Prominent promotion in CityTutor DC communications: CityTutor DC wants to ensure that key stakeholders in the community—civic leaders, funders, parents, and more—are aware of the impactful contributions members of the coalition are making to students and families.
- Demonstrated depth of relationships with DC families and communities: Partner organizations must exhibit a track record of meeting community needs and earning trust while serving students. While partner organizations do not need to be focused exclusively on youth development, they need to have the experience and capacity to work with young people in the elementary and/or middle school age range. In particular, prospective partners should have experience working with students whose families are experiencing poverty and/or collect public benefits such as TANF or SNAP.
- Capacity to provide non-academic activities and supports to young people: The impact of the pandemic on children and families goes well beyond schoolwork. We know that providing students with opportunities for art, sports, mentoring support, and creative outlets is essential to their well-being, as is connecting them with services to strengthen their mental health. Potential partner organizations should be able to address some of these crucial non-academic needs.
- Commitment to high-impact tutoring as part of investing in young people: Organizations do not need to have experience providing high-impact tutoring themselves nor do they need to stop offering other activities and services to young people and their families. But partner leaders need to be willing to make adjustments to provide the physical space and attention required for high-impact tutoring to work well for young people.
- Management capacity: Potential partners need to have the demonstrated capacity to manage substantial grant funds and operate programs with care for those they serve, considering the new demands of a programmatic expansion and the standards for high-impact tutoring. Partners will also need to facilitate data collection and safely store and transmit it for improvement and evaluation.
- Space: Community partners must have access to and control over the physical space where students will gather regularly and safely for learning. Any prospective partners without physical space should outline the plan to secure space, such as a school, a DC Public Library, or Parks and Recreation site, and effectively recruit students to attend programming.
- Connectivity: While partners do not need to already have high-speed wireless internet, the space where they hold their activities needs to be suitable for wireless internet to work well. If your space does not have devices, you must have the capacity to connect the devices that students have been provided by their schools. (CityTutor DC’s capacity-building funds can provide for connecting spaces with WiFi.)
- Access to a pool of potential tutors (for those organizations that wish to establish their own tutoring capacity): If the partner organization would prefer to recruit tutors from the community it is working in—which could have tremendous benefits for young people and the community—they will need to create a reasonable plan that outlines what recruiting and managing these tutors will look like in compliance with all student safety rules in DC. The tutors could be trained and managed by tutoring organizations that are part of the CityTutor DC coalition or the organization could train and manage tutors on its own, supported by CityTutor DC investments.
CityTutor DC seeks letters of interest from organizations that might want to serve as CityTutor Hubs by Tuesday, June 22, at 5:00 PM EDT.
CityBridge will first review these letters to assess how well the organizations are aligned with the CityTutor DC vision for the hubs. CityBridge will then interview the leaders of the organizations that seem like they could be a good fit and perform other due diligence. A group of no more than 6 organizations will be chosen to go on to the planning stage by July 16.
Organizations that reach this stage will be provided with $5,000 in planning grants to support the development of their hubs. As needed, CityBridge can introduce leaders of the prospective hubs to high-impact tutoring organizations that may partner with the organizations to provide tutoring. Alternatively, organizations can develop plans to “grow their own” high-impact tutoring solution. In their plans, the candidate organizations will outline how the capacity-building grant will ensure that high-impact tutoring will proceed. The plans will provide a detailed blueprint of how tutoring will work at the hub. These plans are due August 13.
CityBridge and a selection committee composed of community leaders will review the plans and make final selections by August 27. CityTutor Hubs will begin operating in September.
Letters of interest and associated documents should be submitted in PDF form by email to firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday, June 22 at 5 pm EDT.
Letters of interest should include answers to the following:
- Tell us about your organization and what you do currently (If there is a web page that provides this information, submit URL; if not, word limit: 100 words)
- Describe the impact that your organization has on young people in your community. (word limit: 100 words)
- Tell us why you want to add tutoring to what you do. (word limit: 100 words)
- CityTutor DC is focused on early literacy (K-3) and middle school math (5-8) tutoring. Do you want to focus on one or the other? Both? Why? (word limit: 50 words)
- Would you prefer to develop your own cohort of tutors or work with a partner to provide tutors for the organization? If you would like to develop a cohort of tutors, briefly describe how you intend to recruit, train, and manage them. (word limit: 200 words)
- Tell us about your organization’s strength of relationships with families and young people. What evidence do you have that you can consistently draw in students three times a week for 30-60 minutes of tutoring for several months? (word limit: 150 words)
- Tell us about your site’s space and technology—how much do you have and can control? Does it have Wi-Fi or can it be connected? Do you have devices that kids can use? (word limit: 50 words)
- CityTutor DC is making capacity-building grants (no more than $20K) to CityTutor Hubs. How would you use this grant to strengthen high-impact tutoring? (word limit: 100 words)
- Do you have partnerships with other organizations that attend to the well-being of young people who would be part of the Hub? Who are they, and what do they do? (word limit: 100 words)
In addition, organizations should submit:
- Resume of executive director
- Resume of person who will manage tutoring at the site, if different from executive director
- Copy of IRS determination letter of organization’s 501(c)3 status, if one is available
- Copy of most recent audited financial statements, if available