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$200M Statewide Investment to Accelerate Student Achievement, Mitigate Learning Loss

NASHVILLE / WOODBURY: Today, the Tennessee Department of Education announced 79 school districts, (opens in a new window) over half of all districts in the state, intend to participate in the Tennessee Accelerating Literacy and Learning Corps (opens in a new window) (TN ALL Corps) tutoring program to mitigate learning loss and accelerate student achievement. The participating districts and the department will invest a projected $200 million in federal education funding in TN ALL Corps tutoring supports which stands to benefit nearly 150,000 Tennessee students over the next three years. 

TN ALL Corps is a matching grant opportunity to empower districts to implement or strengthen tutoring supports for students in low ratios and at a high dosage, with TN ALL Corps tutoring occurring for small groups of students in 30–45-minute sessions, two to three times per week. This approach in combination with summer programming (opens in a new window) will provide students with 250-500 additional hours of academic instruction over the next three years and two summers.

“Through TN ALL Corps, Tennessee can dramatically increase the amount of learning time children have access to, which will accelerate student achievement,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “We know high dosage, low-ratio tutoring works, and we are thrilled to see over half of our districts sign up to participate in this program that will help ensure Tennessee students are on track and on a path to success.”

Throughout the pandemic, Tennessee has led the nation in providing academic supports for students. In January 2021, Governor Lee convened the Tennessee General Assembly for a special legislative session (opens in a new window) to pass policies to help mitigate COVID-19 disruptions and support Tennessee students.

Structured tutoring programs have been proven to significantly increase student achievement. As part of the Tennessee Learning Loss and Student Acceleration Act (opens in a new window) passed in the special session, the TN ALL Corps will support students across the state by providing access to tutoring in both English Language Arts (ELA) and math.

As the state has implemented strategies and policies to support students during the pandemic, more than $4 billion in federal COVID-19 education funding has also flowed to Tennessee school districts to help students and schools recover and accelerate. The federal government is requiring districts to spend a portion of their funding, a minimum of 20% of their Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) 3.0 funding, to address learning loss. Districts may satisfy the federally required learning loss investment through participation in TN ALL Corps.

With such an historic amount of federal funding available to local districts, the department created the Best for All recognition (opens in a new window) program to reward district investments in programs or initiatives that are most likely to benefit students. To qualify for the Best for All recognition program, a district or charter school must spend 50% of its ESSER 3.0 award amount on academics and participate in the TN ALL Corps program.

To support districts and increase the investment in tutoring supports, the department developed a financial match model for the TN ALL Corps grant opportunity. For every student tutored, the department will provide $700 per student per year, while a district contributes $800 per year per student. This amount covers at least 15% of district students in 1st – 8th grades in year one.

Districts were able to select the structure of tutoring, the staffing, and the students served, with the goal of providing high dosage low ratio tutoring. For additional flexibility, districts can choose when to launch TN ALL Corps programming, as an early adopter in August and September 2021 or as part of the year one cohort in January 2022. Districts also have the option of launching in the year two cohort during the Summer of 2022. A list of districts intending to participate is available here (opens in a new window).

District and school leaders and elected officials shared why this program will make such a huge impact on learning loss recovery for students.

“I am very pleased so many school districts across the state want to take advantage of this new, high-quality tutoring program established earlier this year through legislation passed by the General Assembly,” said Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson. “Thank you to Education Chairman Brian Kelsey for successfully leading the legislation that made this program possible through the Senate. The program will help students establish strong foundational skills that will have a positive impact on student learning for years to come.”

“As we work to reverse last year’s learning loss caused by the pandemic, all options must remain on the table for consideration.  One-on-one tutoring will provide individualized assistance to get our students not only back on track academically but on a successful path for their future,” said Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton. “We all want and continue to work towards the same outcome in education- every student that graduates from a Tennessee school does so with the skills and opportunities for success in life.”

“This is a wise investment that will address the significant learning disruptions of the past year by helping students to both recover these losses and to reach new heights throughout their educational journey,” said House Majority Leader William Lamberth. “We look forward to seeing the results of this investment in our students as we work toward our goal of leading the nation in education.”

“As we continue to thrive as a School System to address learning loss, it is essential that we are innovative and take full advantage of resources that are being provided as partnerships with the Tennessee Department of Education as educational opportunities that come our way,” said Mr. William Freddy Curtis, Director of Schools, Cannon County Schools. “All of us are educators, and we know and completely understand the ‘high-dosage’ tutoring with that additional time spent with high quality curriculum and impactful educators will address and remediate our learning losses and assist our students to meet their education goals and close these gaps.  TN All Corps Tutoring is one of those tools to enable us to achieve our VISION – To Actively Engage in Excellence EVERY Day in EVERY Way!”

“The learning opportunities we provide today help our children become prosperous and productive adults for tomorrow,” said House Education Administration Chairman Mark White. “This program, along with other measures we have taken, will help us close the gap for those vulnerable students who have fallen behind due to school closures. I’m grateful for the partnership of our teachers and tutors across the state who are helping to create a world -class public education system for our students.”

“Through this program many students will have the ability to recover critical learning skills lost during the 2020/2021 school year,” said Senate Education Chairman Brian Kelsey. “While we still have much work to do, this is a huge step in the right direction towards setting students on a path to a successful learning career with positive education outcomes.”

“Every student deserves a top-notch, high-quality education, and the General Assembly remains committed to ensuring they receive one,” said House Education Instruction Chairlady Debra Moody. “We know that mitigating the effects of learning loss is not going to be a one-time fix. This three-year, high-dosage program will enhance the tools and supports we already have in place to measure, remediate and close the learning gaps caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

“Ensuring students all across Tennessee are receiving the one-on-one help they need is one of the most important things we can do as a legislature,” said House Education Instruction Subcommittee Scott Cepicky. “This is a huge win for students and teachers across our state as we move Tennessee to number one in education in our country.”

“The TN All Corps Tutoring Grant provides additional funding to support targeted reading or math tutoring for students in grades 1- 8. Additional part-time personnel will be hired for the next three years. The current plan supports tutoring for 185 students, said Mrs. Stephanie Alexander, Cannon County Schools ESSER Monitor/Learning Loss Supervisor.  “Cannon County Schools will receive $129,500 in matching state funds from this grant which may allow us to serve more than 185 students when combined with ESSER funds that have been allocated for tutoring. The tutoring will be embedded within the school day and run concurrently with Response to Intervention (RTI2). Participation in this grant also gives all high school students access to state provided synchronous tutoring in math, essay writing, and ACT. Cannon County Schools is excited to provide these opportunities, which will begin in January 2022, to our students as we address unfinished learning that has occurred as a result of the pandemic.” 

“Making sure Tennessee students are not falling behind in the classroom is vital to their success,” said House Education Administration K-12 Subcommittee Chairman Kirk Haston. “I am excited for what this program will do for our kids and our teachers. This is a great win the students across our state.”

“Some of the best teaching moments come from one-on-one tutoring sessions,” said House Education Administration Vice-Chairman Chris Hurt. “This program will allow students to receive the extra help needed and put them one step closer to success, and I am excited for where this will take us.”

District applications are now open in ePlan. To learn more about TN ALL Corps, visit the department’s ESSER district planning resources webpage (opens in a new window)

For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact Edu.MediaInquiries@tn.gov. (opens in a new window)  

For local media inquiries, please contact Mr. William Freddy Curtis, Director of Cannon County Schools at 629-201-4801 Extension 10101 or at williamf.curtis@ccstn.net (opens in a new window) for local Cannon County Schools information.

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