United Way of Greater Chattanooga to launch new tutoring and literacy programs

Staff photo by Matt Hamilton / Molly O'Donnell, 10, writes on a worksheet at Battle Academy on Tuesday, June 7, 2022.
Staff photo by Matt Hamilton / Molly O'Donnell, 10, writes on a worksheet at Battle Academy on Tuesday, June 7, 2022.

New literacy and tutoring options will be available to Chattanooga-area students starting this fall after United Way of Greater Chattanooga received a $4.7 million grant to launch high-dosage tutoring programs with the goal of serving 3,000 students.

High-dosage tutoring combines a small student-to-adult ratio with frequent sessions, at least two 30-minute sessions each week.

The Tennessee Accelerating Literacy and Learning Corps Community Partner Grant, offered through the Tennessee Department of Education, is part of the state's initiative to combat learning loss due to the pandemic.

"The department is excited to grow our high-dosage, low-ratio tutoring program, TN ALL Corps, to include new community partners across the state and increase the number of opportunities available for student learning," Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn said in a news release.

In total, the state awarded $27 million to five organizations across Tennessee. In addition to United Way of Chattanooga, the Niswonger Foundation, Literacy Mid-South, United Way of Greater Knoxville and United Way of Greater Nashville received the award.

While the details are still being worked out, United Way of Greater Chattanooga plans to work with Hamilton County Schools, Chattanooga 2.0 and other nonprofit organization, said Abby Garrison, vice president of community investments for United Way of Greater Chattanooga.

"The expertise that United Way brings to the table is just all of the nonprofit partners who work with kids in and out of school that we're going to be partnered with to deliver tutoring, almost like wraparound tutoring," Garrison said.

United Way offers students an extracurricular option for tutoring, she said.

"The cool part about it is that the school district and the Urban League both have got funding to do tutoring in schools. And while this one can also be tutoring in school, the cool part about this funding is that it is specifically geared toward doing high-dosage tutoring with community partners," Garrison said.

As part of the grant, tutors will be paid and won't be expected to work on a volunteer basis.

Garrison asked the community to stay tuned as jobs will soon be posted and more information becomes available to parents.

Once launched, the program will be completely free.

Contact Carmen Nesbitt at cnesbitt@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6327. Follow her on Twitter @carmen_nesbitt.

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