Houston ISD’s improved TEA rating partly due to tutoring program, officials say

iEducate was the tutoring program in HISD schools for the 2021-2022 school year and the district credits it for helping correct learning loss suffered during the pandemic.

Lucio Vasquez / Houston Public Media

The Houston Independent School District received an overall B-plus rating from the Texas Education Agency for its students’ classroom performance during the 2021-2022 school year, and school officials say part of the improvement is due to tutoring programs.

iEducate is the tutoring program that was in HISD schools for the 2021-2022 school year and the district said it made strides in trying to improve learning loss suffered during the pandemic.

In the program's first year, tutors were divided among 67 HISD campuses. Many of those campuses received As or Bs from the TEA.

"That small group instruction is critical," said Joseph Williams, Executive Director of Innovative services for HISD. "I’m confident that the work that our tutors did and supporting our teachers in our elementary schools help to receive those A and B ratings."

Now HISD wants to expand the program and partnership with iEducate by hiring 500 tutors. The program hires mostly high school and college students. They would work with certified teachers 20 hours a week and help students in math, English and science.

"As a former principal, you can think you have the perfect lesson plan," Williams said. "It's not until they get around someone their age, who presents it to them differently, is when the light bulb turns on. iEducate is truly doing amazing work."

Cesar Del Aguila with iEducate said some students are there all day, and that peer-to-peer learning is the program's "bread and butter."

Williams and Aguila add the program also provides a pipeline for those seeking to become educators one day.

"What our program emphasizes, we base our model on recruiting high school and college students that are interested in the field of education or want to give back to the community," Aguila said. "We recruit them and place them alongside teachers, and they are in the schools during the school day."

Student tutors will work in-person and earn $14 an hour. The program will begin in September and run through December 17 with the opportunity to continue in Spring 2023.

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