Review the following frequently asked questions and answers about Amplify Tutoring.

Overview Questions

Who is served in Amplify Tutoring?

Amplify Tutoring serves K- 5 students. In Baltimore City Public Schools, as of January 4, 2021, Amplify Tutoring is offered in 28 schools and serves over 2,300 students.

What is the mission of Amplify Tutoring?

Amplify Tutoring aligns with the mission of Amplify in extending the reach of classroom teachers and supporting rigorous and riveting learning experiences for students.

What is Amplify Tutoring?

Amplify Tutoring is a service provided where an Amplify Reading Tutor meets virtually with a small group of 3-5 students in the same grade level from the same school. Tutoring groups meet for 30 minutes per session, 3 days per week with the same tutor. The purpose of tutoring is to 1) support student achievement in foundational literacy skills and 2) create a safe and engaging learning environment with a caring adult.

Why is there an emphasis on foundational literacy skills?

Foundational literacy skills are critical components in learning to read in early grades. Classroom teachers teach foundational literacy skills in whole group and small group settings, and Amplify tutoring is one way to support teachers in meeting the needs of their students by providing additional opportunities for struggling students to work in small groups with a tutor focused on their needs in foundational literacy skills.

Why does Amplify Tutoring use GoogleMeets?

Amplify collaborated with Baltimore City Schools to determine the best video platform. For security purposes, the Baltimore City Schools Zoom accounts are unable to be shared with external partners. Several teachers reported complications with audio for students while using Zoom. In a small group, audio is critical. Baltimore City email addresses are aligned with Google, and so it was determined that using GoogleMeets would be the best platform.

Why Can’t the Amplify Tutor join my classroom Zoom?

Amplify Tutors use their established GoogleMeet links because often a small group of tutored students is pulled from different classrooms in a given school. For example, if a school has three Kindergarten teachers, a tutoring group can be comprised of students from each classroom; thus, joining one classroom Zoom would not be feasible.

Scheduling Questions

What days of the week is Amplify Tutoring?

Amplify Tutoring is provided in a set of 3 days:

  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday

  • Tuesday, Thursday, Friday

  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

At the beginning of the year, school point of contacts had the opportunity to identify if there was a day of the week that would not work in the school schedule.

Why is Amplify Tutoring 3 days per week?

Amplify Tutoring is 3 days per week because some schools choose to schedule tutoring during literacy small group time, and this allows teachers an opportunity to still meet with tutored students 2 days per week when tutoring is not occuring.

Research shows that high-dosage tutoring makes the most impact on students’ literacy skills; therefore, offering tutoring less than three days each week is not ideal to increase student achievement.

How was the schedule determined?

At the beginning of the school year, Amplify and Baltimore City Public Schools facilitated a session for all school Point of Contacts to identify a schedule that worked with the school schedule. All tutoring sessions for a given grade occur at the same time, and tutoring should never interfere with core instruction. Schools were encouraged to identify small group time or asynchronous time during the traditional school time.

Tutoring sessions begin on the hour, half hour, or quarter hour (:00, :15, :30, :45), and final times are a reflection of the match between school availability and tutor availability.

When does tutoring occur?

Tutoring occurs every day that Baltimore City Public Schools has school for students based on the City Schools calendar.

Tutoring sessions begin at 8:30am and conclude at 4:00pm and are dependent on each school’s bell schedule. Sessions begin on the hour, half hour, or quarter hour (:00, :15, :30, :45) and final times are a reflection of the match between school availability and tutor availability. Your final school tutor schedule will be communicated to your school Point of Contact.

When does tutoring end for the school year?

Tutoring will occur until the last day of school for the school year 2020-2021 based on the Baltimore City Public Schools calendar.

What is the protocol for designated City School holidays and early release days?

Tutoring will not occur on City Schools designated holidays or days when students do not have school (ie: Teacher Professional Days)

Amplify Tutoring follows the Baltimore City Public Schools schedule. For early release days,

  • Any session that begins 11:30am or earlier will occur

  • Any session that begins 12:00 or later will not occur

What if my school schedule changes?

For consistency purposes, we do not encourage tutoring schedules to change. However, there are specific times within the school year where schools may need to change based on necessity. For example, if a school moves from 100% distant learning to in-person learning, schedules are going to shift.

Will tutoring be virtual all school year?

Yes. Amplify Tutoring is a virtual program for the entire 2020-2021 school year. Regardless of Baltimore City School’s decision to have virtual, hybrid, or in-person learning for students, Amplify Tutoring will remain virtual through the last day of school.

Student Groups

How are students identified for tutoring?

Amplify worked with Baltimore City Public Schools to identify the number of students per grade per participating school. Schools then identified recommended students and communicated them to the Program Manager via a spreadsheet. Participating students are at the discretion of the school/ teacher; guidance is provided to consider the following:

  • Is the student’s mCLASS DIBELS composite score red or yellow?

  • Is the student at risk for becoming a struggling reader?

  • What is the student’s virtual attendance?

  • Is the student already participating in other tutoring programs?

Can schools switch students identified for tutoring?

It is recommended that schools do not switch students in or out of tutoring; however, if there needs to be an adjustment due to an unchangeable circumstance, please have the School Point of Contact email the Program Manager.

How are groups determined?

Groups are homogeneous and determined by mCLASS data. An ideal group size is between 3 and 5 students. Initial small groups were based on Beginning of the Year DIBELS 8th Edition data using a grouping algorithm in mCLASS Intervention; any changes in groupings are determined by new data.

How do schools know which students are in which groups?

Teachers and school leaders can see which students are in which groups through mCLASS: 1) log into mclass.amplify.com, 2) access your class data, 3) click on “progress” in the bar, and 4) scroll to the left to the blue heading “Intervention.” The blue column with “Intervention Group Name” shows the group name.

The Program Manager will also email a list of students per group to the school Point of Contact.

How should student group information be communicated to Caregivers?

Amplify will send “Caregiver Letters” the School Point of Contact. There will be a unique Caregiver Letter for each Amplify Tutoring group, which will include:

  • Group Name

  • Days of the Week and Time

  • Tutor Name

  • GoogleMeet Link

  • Caregiver support information

Schools should distribute the Caregiver Letters to the appropriate students in each group.

When will students change groups?

Amplify is committed to balancing the student/tutor relationship while also following best research-based practices of flexible groupings to meet the instructional needs of students based on new data.

Students will change groups after each mCLASS Benchmark window. Additionally, some students will change groups after MOY benchmark assessments. (new groups beginning in March).

If you have a student’s progress monitoring data shows a discrepancy with the rest of the students in the group, a teacher or tutor can recommend that the student changes to a more appropriate group.

Why will students change groups?

Students change groups because flexible grouping is a research-based best practice. New progress monitoring data is collected between benchmark windows, and students may need to change groups in order for the instruction to align with their needs.

Assessment/ Progress Monitoring

What data is used for Amplify Tutoring groups?

Amplify Tutoring uses the DIBELS 8th Edition data. For students in grades 2 - 5, additional DECoding Inventory from mCLASS Intervention help to refine student groups to be even more homogeneous. At the Beginning of the Year, teachers in grades 2 - 5 should administer the mCLASs Intervention DECoding Inventory to tutored students.

Why do teachers in grades 2 - 5 administer the DECoding Inventory in addition to the DIBELS 8th Edition measures for tutored students?

The DECoding Inventory results are used in the mCLASS Intervention algorithm to create homogeneous groups.

How does Progress Monitoring work?

Tutors will progress monitor students in a tutoring group on measures directly aligned to the 10-day lesson cycle. Tutors will Progress Monitor between Day 7 - Day 10 of a lesson cycle.

In the 10-day lesson plan (see question above “how does the school know what the tutors are teaching for access directions), you will see which measure(s) tutors will assess.

After a tutor progress monitors a student, a teacher will see the progress monitoring score and probe: 1) Log into mclass.amplify.com, 2) access class data, and 3) click on “progress” in the bar.

Can schools Progress Monitor tutored students?

Yes! A classroom teacher is the authority on all students in their class. While tutors will support Progress Monitoring through the tutoring protocols, teachers can always Progress Monitor any student on their roster. Teachers should use the next Progress Monitoring form for any given measure.

What should other students do while a tutor is Progress Monitoring?

Sometimes tutors will choose to Progress Monitor a student for the first or last 5 minutes of a tutoring session so as not to greatly impact the lesson. However, tutors may need a tutoring session to Progress Monitor. In this case, tutors will ask students to use Amplify Reading while they are administering assessments.

Tutors

Who are the tutors?

Tutors are Amplify contract employees. Amplify partnered with Baltimore City Public Schools, local colleges and universities as well as other organizations to recruit tutors from the Greater Baltimore area. Tutors are diverse in many ways including: gender, race, age, and teaching experience. All tutors completed a competitive application, performance task, and interview process. A background check and fingerprinting process with Baltimore City Public Schools at North Avenue were completed for all tutors.

Amplify tutors completed a rigorous onboarding content course prior to beginning tutoring with students.

What are the roles and responsibilities of tutors?

The roles and responsibilities of the Amplify Tutor shared at the beginning of the year planning session are as follows:

  • Prepare lessons based on mCLASS Intervention lessons

  • Teach tutoring lessons via GoogleMeet

  • Manage the GoogleMeet tutoring sessions

  • Progress Monitor tutored students every 10 sessions

  • Complete post session report to communicate: student attendance, lesson taught, session rating, notes to the teacher/school

How are tutors supported/ trained?

Amplify tutors completed a rigorous onboarding content course with opportunities to practice and receive feedback prior to beginning tutoring with students.

Tutors attend weekly professional development sessions, and have regular individual observation/feedback cycles with a tutor coach.

What is the communication structure for tutors and classroom teachers?

Tutors support students across schools, grades, and classrooms. In an effort to streamline communication, tutors complete the post session report to communicate with teachers any notes about students.

If a teacher would like to communicate with a tutor, we recommend that teachers quickly pop into a tutoring session at the beginning/end to connect with the tutor.

Beginning March 1, 2021, the teacher may also directly email the tutor specific questions about a student’s engagement or instructional performance during the tutoring sessions. Tutors will share what they observe during tutoring, but they are not in the position to comment on instructional recommendations outside of tutoring. Teachers should be sure to include the tutoring session name, and the child’s first name and last initial.

What if the tutor is unable to attend their regularly scheduled tutoring session?

Amplify has an internal process where tutors request substitutes when they are unable to attend a session. There should NEVER be a session without a tutor. If there is a session without a tutor, please have the school point of contact immediately contact the program manager to determine if it is a technology problem or other personnel related issue.

Amplify Program Manager and Tutor Coach

What are the roles and responsibilities of the Program Manager?

The roles and responsibilities of the Amplify Program Manager are as follows:

  • Communicate with district leaders weekly

  • Communicate directly with school points of contact

  • Schedule tutoring sessions to meet the needs of the school and tutors availability

  • Manage all Amplify tutors

  • Provide program-wide updates and data analysis

What are the roles and responsibilities of the Tutor Coach?

The roles and responsibilities of the Amplify Tutor Coach are as follows:

  • Support tutors in planning and implementing lessons

  • Support tutors in engaging students in lessons

  • Regularly conduct individual observation/feedback cycles

  • Create and facilitate professional development for tutors

School Point of Contact

What are the roles and responsibilities of the School Point of Contact?

The roles and responsibilities of the School Point of Contact are as follows:

  • Develop a tutoring schedule that works in the school schedule and does not conflict with core instruction

  • Communicate with teachers their roles and responsibilities

  • Identify students that should receive tutoring

  • Share resources with teachers and school leaders (including attendance reports)

  • Support teachers in caregiver follow-up

  • Communicate with Amplify Program Manager

  • Promote attendance by reviewing weekly attendance reports to communicate with teachers, students, and parents/caregivers

What is the communication structure with the Program Manager?

School Point of Contacts should email the Program Manager.

Classroom Teacher

What are the roles and responsibilities of the Classroom Teacher?

The roles and responsibilities of the Classroom Teacher are as follows:

  • Assess all tutored students using DIBELS 8th Edition and DECoding mCLASS Instruction measure at BOY (for Grades 2-5 students)

  • Communicate to caregivers of tutored students using caregiver letters

  • Remind students to attend tutor sessions

  • Follow-up with caregivers on attendance issues

  • Regularly check weekly attendance report for notes from the tutor (shared with the School Point of Contact weekly)

How does the classroom teacher know what the tutor is teaching?

Teachers have access to the lesson plans that the tutors use for planning instruction. To access the current 10-day lesson plan: 1) Log into mclass.amplify.com, 2) access class data, 3) click on “progress” in the bar, 4) scroll to the left to the blue heading “Intervention, 5) identify the blue column with “Intervention Group Name,” 6) click on the group name, 7) click on “view PDF” or “Download.”

In order to identify which lesson the tutor is currently teaching for a given day, access the attendance file from your school Point of Contact and look at the column “Which lesson did you teach today?”

How do teachers support students to return to Zoom after tutoring?

If students have challenges returning to Zoom after tutoring, it is recommended that teachers move tutored students to the Zoom waiting room during tutoring sessions and then readmit students after tutoring. Please do not leave students in the Zoom class during tutoring sessions because then a student has both Zoom and GoogleMeet sessions competing and the audio is challenging to navigate.

Can teachers join the tutoring session?

Yes! Teachers are more than welcome to join the tutoring sessions to introduce themselves to the tutor and/or join to get a better understanding of the group lessons.

What is the communication structure for tutors and classroom teachers?

Tutors support students across schools, grades, and classrooms. In an effort to streamline communication, tutors complete the post session report to communicate with teachers any notes about students.

If a teacher would like to communicate with a tutor, we recommend that teachers quickly pop into a tutoring session at the beginning/end to connect with the tutor.

Beginning March 1, 2021, the teacher may also directly email the tutor specific questions about a student’s engagement or instructional performance during the tutoring sessions. Tutors will share what they observe during tutoring, but they are not in the position to comment on instructional recommendations outside of tutoring. Teachers should be sure to include the tutoring session name, and the child’s first name and last initial.

Can classroom teachers use mCLASS Intervention in their class?

mCLASS Intervention is used for Amplify Tutoring. Any student that is in a school-level Burst group will not show up in mCLASS Intervention for tutoring. We advise against creating mCLASS Intervention groups at the school level as they will often interfere with tutoring groups, and school-level Burst groups will often be deleted.

How can classroom teachers provide feedback on Amplify Tutoring?

There will be three surveys distributed throughout the school year. These surveys will be used to identify trends and continue to improve Amplify Tutoring. If there is specific feedback between surveys, please have your school point of contact directly email the Program Manager.

Caregivers

What are the roles and responsibilities of the Caregivers?

The roles and responsibilities of the Caregivers are as follows:

  • Support the child in attending tutoring for every session

  • Communicate with the classroom teacher about tutoring

  • Ask the child what games or activities they played during tutoring

How are Caregivers supported?

Amplify will directly support any caregivers that need assistance related to tutoring. Caregivers can access the Amplify Parent/Caregiver site.

Topics include:

  • An introduction to the Baltimore tutoring project

  • How to use Google Meet

  • Allowing or blocking pop-ups in Google Chrome

  • Caregiver support

What is the communication structure for Caregivers?

Amplify believes strongly in the trusted relationship between caregivers and classroom teachers. Classroom teachers should always be the main point of contact for the caregiver regarding any questions or conversations about a child’s education. Additionally, contact information for a caregiver is a private, confidential information between a school and a family.

For these reasons, tutors and Amplify staff do not initiate communication with caregivers about a child’s education. Caregivers are welcome to join tutoring with their child, but tutors will always refer caregivers to the classroom teacher as the authority on a child’s education.

Attendance

How is attendance communicated?

After each tutoring session, tutors complete a post session report, which includes:

student attendance, the lesson lesson taught, a session rating 1-3, notes to the teacher/school.

The information of these reports are downloaded to a spreadsheet each week, and the spreadsheet is sent to all school Point of Contacts by the end of day on Fridays. Each tab represents an individual school. School Point of Contacts are encouraged to download their school tab and distribute as they see fit.

The program manager will also email School Point of Contacts overall attendance rates at the program and school level throughout the year.

How can schools promote attendance?

Schools have shared several best practices for promoting student attendance below.

Student Attendance Best Practice #1

During their weekly ILT meeting, the team reviews the tutoring attendance document and makes a plan to reach out to caregivers for students that have not yet attended.

Student Attendance Best Practice #2

Teachers use GoGuardian to support students in logging into their tutoring session. In some schools, the teacher or administrator directly copies the google meet link into the browser of a student at the time of their tutoring session.

Student Attendance Best Practice #3

Teachers have given ClassDojo Points for tutoring attendance and sent texts/ messages via ClassDojo to remind caregivers about tutoring.

Student Attendance Best Practice #4

To help support with links, teachers have put the links and students’ names per groups directly on their GoogleClassrooms (see example pictures below).

What should a school do if a student is unable to join tutoring?

If a student is absent for the regular school day, it is not necessary for the school/teacher to report to the tutor.

If a student is attempting to join tutoring during the communicated day/time and is unable to join, the following should be done:

  1. Ensure the student is logged into their Baltimore City account in Google

  2. Ensure the student is accessing the tutoring link in a Chrome browser

  3. Ensure there is an internet connection

  4. Ensure the link is the correct link from the parent letter.

  5. Ask a caregiver to access the Amplify support resources

  6. Ask the School Point of Contact to email the Program Manager to investigate

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