Polk County Public Schools and Varsity Tutors have launched a new online tutoring partnership that brings live instruction and lessons to 40,000 students across the district.
The first-of-its-kind program enables district educators to schedule online, face-to-face personalized tutoring for any student. The services will be available across 43 Polk County schools (see list below) and utilized by both teachers in the classroom and families at home.
“This program was designed to serve as an extension of our teachers, providing each classroom with resources that work hand-in-hand with the educators of our district,” said Superintendent Frederick Heid. “Our students and teachers need additional support, and by enabling our school communities to work directly with tutors in this way, we’re ensuring that every student has the tools they need to succeed while offering teachers an unparalleled support system.”
In addition to the live online tutoring, students will have access to on-demand homework help, support studying for tests, and assistance reviewing draft essays and papers. Services are available in both English and Spanish, across all grades and academic levels, including AP and IB courses. Additional resources for special needs students will be available from certified tutors.
The program will be rolled out throughout the school year, beginning this month, and includes the following services:
● Live, Face-to-Face Teacher-Assigned Tutoring: Empowers educators who know students best to schedule live, face-to-face, personalized support from tutors. Teachers get an extra set of hands to reinforce what happens in the classroom, with a targeted focus on the specific needs of the individual student. Students work with tutors on the Varsity Tutors platform that combines interactive tools, collaborative workspaces, and sophisticated tutor-student matching. Tutors provide teachers with progress notes on every session with students so they can monitor progress and get insight if more individualized instruction is needed.
● On Demand Tutoring: Providing 24/7 support to every student, On Demand gives access to fast support from highly qualified tutors through an interactive, live chat platform across core K-12 subjects. Students and tutors collaborate in live sessions via a shared whiteboard that allows students to draw, upload a file, or share an image of their assignment. The service also offers proven standards-based self-study resources and diagnostic assessments.
● Essay Review: Essay Review tutors offer coaching and feedback to help students strengthen their writing skills. Students are able to upload already-written work into a safe and secure environment, and receive personalized skills-based feedback from expert tutors within 48 hours.
“There’s overwhelming evidence that teachers need support now more than ever, and Polk County School District is taking bold action with a new initiative that is unprecedented in its scale and ambition,” said Anthony Salcito, Chief Institution Business Officer at Varsity Tutors. “Teachers are in the best position to identify the specific challenges and opportunities where tutoring can help students, and this program makes it easy for Polk County teachers to assign the right support to any student – when they need it, for as long as they need it.”
As the new program rolls out this year, Polk County teachers will receive dedicated training on implementing the services, and a range of resources will also be available for use by families at home. The contract with Varsity Tutors for Schools was unanimously approved by the Polk County School Board, and will be funded through Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funding, which provides additional resources to address learning losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Participating schools: Alta Vista Elementary, Alturas Elementary, Auburndale High, Bartow High, Bella Citta Elementary, Bethune Academy, Boswell Elementary, Caldwell Elementary, Carlton Palmore Elementary, Chain of Lakes Elementary, Churchwell Elementary, Citrus Ridge: A Civics Academy, Combee Academy, Daniel Jenkins Academy, Dundee Elementary Academy, Eastside Elementary, Floral Avenue Elementary, Fort Meade Middle-Senior High, Frostproof Middle-Senior High, George Jenkins High, Haines City High, Highland City Elementary, Jewett Middle Academy, Jewett School of the Arts, Lake Alfred Elementary, Lake Alfred Polytech, Lake Gibson High, Lakeland Highlands Middle, Lewis Anna Woodbury Elementary, Loughman Oaks Elementary, Medulla Elementary, Mulberry High, Pinewood Elementary, Purcell Elementary, R. Bruce Wagner Elementary, Sikes Elementary, Sleepy Hill Elementary, Southwest Elementary, Snively Elementary, Spessard Holland Elementary, Wendell Watson Elementary, Winston Academy, Winter Haven High