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Addressing Low Reading Proficiency Rates: ExpandED Schools Leads Citywide High-Impact Tutoring Program Alongside “New York City Reads” Launch

ExpandED Schools Partners with New York City Public Schools in a $15 Million Initiative to Serve 80 Schools, Aiming to Benefit 15,000 Students by 2025.

New York, NY, June 4, 2023 – ExpandED Schools has been selected as the intermediary partner to build a citywide high-impact tutoring system, as part of a three-year public-private partnership with New York City Public Schools (NYCPS). This initiative aims to improve the literacy and math proficiency of 15,000 students by 2025, complementing the recently launched “New York City Reads” initiative by New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Public Schools (NYCPS) Chancellor David C. Banks.

Drawing insights from a blueprint study in 2021-22, led by the nonprofit TNTP, one of the goals is to build an ecosystem of high-impact tutoring (HIT) collaborators to provide students who were most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with the academic and social-emotional support necessary to get back on track. The initiative received a $15 million commitment from NYCPS, and private funders have pledged an additional $4.1 million to date. Public funds support tutor providers selected by individual schools, and private funds support coaching, program implementation assistance, policy, and sustainability efforts. “High-impact tutoring is a support for children and their families that is part of a well-rounded, comprehensive learning day, which all kids deserve. Through our provider selection assistance, coaching, customization, and advocacy for sustainable systems, ExpandED Schools empowers schools to build their capacity to sustain high-impact tutoring long-term,” said Saskia Traill, Ph.D., President, and CEO of ExpandED Schools. “We are working toward a day when this kind of intensive, individualized intervention is available to all NYC students who struggle academically, regardless of race, neighborhood or economic resources.”

As a supplement to classroom learning, HIT is a research-based practice through which trained tutors build strong relationships with students in groups of four or fewer, meeting at least three times per week, and typically focused on math or literacy.

ExpandED staff are working with 65 school-based teams this school year and will expand to 80 school teams in the school year 2023-24. The focus of these schools is literacy for grades K-2 and math for grades 6-8. “Focusing on K-2 literacy and 6-8 math means that we can target tutoring services where they are needed most and where the evidence tells us tutoring can have the most impact,” said Melanie Gardner-Ojefua, Vice President of High-Impact Tutoring at ExpandED Schools, who was hired to lead this initiative at ExpandED. School teams design tutoring sessions that work for their specific circumstances and adhere to evidence-backed standards, including group size and intensity of tutoring for each student. School leaders can select from a list of vetted tutoring providers. Currently serving approximately 3,500 students in 65 schools across the city, the initiative’s goal is to reach 15,000 students in three years.

A critical component of the initiative is providing academic and social-emotional support to students most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring the opportunity to build a meaningful relationship with a tutor who believes in the child and supports their learning. This kind of support helps to address the sense of isolation and disconnectedness from school, build their confidence and sense of belonging, and support their overall social and emotional well-being at a critical time for so many of our city’s youth.

Private funding is also supporting the development of a broad-based network of stakeholders invested in high-impact tutoring, including educators, school system leaders, tutoring providers, youth-serving nonprofits, funders, and higher education leaders. ExpandED staff will convene the group quarterly to share knowledge, identify and problem-solve around barriers to implementation, raise consciousness about high-impact tutoring, and advocate for systems and policies to secure long-term sustainability. With the guidance of NYCPS, this community of practice defined and set HIT standards and established High-Quality Instructional Material. The next meeting is scheduled for June 6, 2023.

ExpandED is also developing a tutor career center that will offer tutors a range of services, including workshops, career coaching, and networking opportunities, to support their career development and their path toward teacher certification and employment. “Tutors are well-positioned to become the next generation of NYC school teachers. With training and experience in curriculum, pedagogy, and relationship-building with youth, tutors are well-primed to pursue careers as certified educators and thus address NYC’s teacher shortage,” said Marina Cofield, Chief Operating Officer of ExpandED Schools.

“This partnership with ExpandED is a wonderful complement to our recently announced NYC Reads initiative. With the support from our high impact tutoring initiative, we are shaping a more equitable society where every child has the tools and resources to succeed in school. We look forward to starting off the next school year strong, ensuring that every student becomes more confident in their reading and math skills” said Carolyne Quintana, New York City Schools Deputy Chancellor.

ExpandED Schools received private support and funding from several philanthropic organizations, including the Altman Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Gray Foundation, The Heckscher Foundation for Children, Robin Hood Foundation, and Tiger Foundation.


ExpandED Schools is a NYC-based nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that all young people in New York City have access to enriching afterschool programs that affirm their identities, teach them valuable skills, and spark new possibilities in and out of the school day. In order to achieve this mission, ExpandED provides K–12 afterschool programs with curricula and support and professional development and resources for educators; and advances the afterschool sector through policy and research. Since its founding in 1998, when it created the nation’s first citywide system of K–12 afterschool programming, the organization has expanded opportunities for more than 1.1 million kids so that all children, from every zip code, can access opportunities to discover their talents and develop their full potential.

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/expanded-schools/
Facebook: facebook.com/ExpandEDSchools
Twitter: @expand_school

Name: Rafael Rivas
Organization: ExpandED Schools
Phone: 646-943-8712
Email: [email protected]