Lessons from the Field: Designing, Launching, and Scaling High-Impact Tutoring for Student Success

This is the first post in our series about high-impact tutoring. You can read the second post here and the third post here.

From summer of 2021 to summer of 2022, we had the opportunity to support sites across the United States as they worked to implement and grow their high-impact tutoring (HIT) efforts. Like many districts and organizations, each of the sites we supported were working to meet the moment as our students made their way toward academic recovery. Our work in partnership with America Achieves, Watershed Advisors, and Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the National Student Support Accelerator at Brown University, gave us a window into both the promising practices as well as lessons learned that school systems, funders, and community members need to take into account as they pursue and scale systems for high-impact tutoring. Over this three-part series, we will outline those key lessons learned, link to key resources to support the launch of HIT programs, and share recommendations for the field as high-impact tutoring continues to be an integral part of the learning acceleration work our students deserve.


TNTP supported six sites that reached over 13,000 students in a variety of contexts. Some sites had more established high-impact tutoring systems in place, while others were in the design or launch phases. The cohort included school districts, charter school organizations, and community-based organizations (CBOs). At some sites, the interrelationship of participating entities was layered. We also had sites where state legislation impacted the parameters for the work, such as in Texas and Colorado which respectively recently enacted House Bill 45451 and House Bill 21-12342 Some sites had their own tutoring pipelines, while others leveraged the emerging services from virtual tutoring programs. 

What is HIT?

HIT, with the support of organizations like Accelerate, has become an increasingly common academic recovery strategy. HIT is defined by specific core tenets that must be attended to in order to see the desired effect. Group size, frequency, and progress monitoring are just some of the factors that distinguish it from other tutoring models, such as Saturday School tutoring or those taking place 1-2 times a week. You can learn more about what HIT is here, and we encourage your system/organization to be well-versed and aligned about what HIT is and what it is not.   

HIT Framework

TNTP developed the High-Impact Tutoring Implementation Framework to help sites address the essential elements in the design and implementation of their tutoring programs. Within each element, there are also specific considerations for instructional program coherence, which we further describe in the third blog post in this series.

High-Impact Tutoring Implementation Framework

Vision & Goal Setting

Student Needs & Opportunities

Community Engagement & Sustainability

Districts define the short- and long-term goals of high-impact tutoring and how it aligns with their broader vision, instructional coherence and their strategic plan. Districts engage schools to establish criteria to determine student selection, schedule/timing of tutoring and the length of the program. This also includes thinking through how programs will scale to reach more students over time. Districts inventory and assess community resources—including tutor pipeline development opportunities and options for long-term funding—and perceptions of tutoring. Sustainability and community buy-in is a critical component in the beginning phases of planning.

Model Design  

Content & Curriculum  

Tutor Pipeline Development  

Districts engage in program design, including mode of delivery, frequency and length of sessions, and student-to-tutor ratio for example. Districts make critical decisions about the academic and social emotional content utilized in tutoring sessions. Impact relies on students engaging in content that will help them grow. Tutor pipeline development involves both recruiting and training tutors. In partnership with schools, district leaders need to develop tutor recruitment, onboarding, and an ongoing professional learning plan.

Site Collaboration  

Central Team

Data & Continuous Improvement  

Whether tutoring takes place in school or at other community organizations, districts must build a strong relationship with the site and prepare a site leader to successfully manage tutoring efforts and communicate with stakeholders. Managing an effective high-impact tutoring initiative is a team effort, and there are specific roles—such as data management, tutor development, and tutoring content—that need dedicated planning. Districts should define how necessary roles will be fulfilled and how the team will coordinate with broader district efforts. Districts should develop a plan for regular program improvement that involves assessing reach, satisfaction, and impact. This includes collecting and maintaining high-quality data on tutoring sessions and defining a process for how this data will inform decision making and program improvement.


This framework was a continuous point-of-reference for the sites we supported and helped key stakeholders communicate more effectively by establishing a common language. The implementation framework also helped sites consider the roles of external entities, such as nonprofits, college partners, and tutor vendors.

As you consider the design, launch, or scaling of high-impact tutoring, we hope the HIT Implementation Design Framework will serve as a helpful reference point. We also have a suite of resources to support stakeholders as they launch high-impact tutoring programs which can be found here. In Part 2 of this learning series, we will relay the key lessons learned from our work with sites, as well as implications for instructional coherence.

Imali Ariyarathne, seventh-grade teacher at Langston Hughes Academy, stands in front of her students while introducing them to the captivating world of science

Imali Ariyarathne, seventh-grade teacher at Langston Hughes Academy, introduces her students to the captivating world of science.

About TNTP

TNTP is the nation’s leading research, policy, and consulting organization dedicated to transforming America’s public education system, so that every generation thrives.

Today, we work side-by-side with educators, system leaders, and communities across 39 states and over 6,000 districts nationwide to reach ambitious goals for student success.

Yet the possibilities we imagine push far beyond the walls of school and the education field alone. We are catalyzing a movement across sectors to create multiple pathways for young people to achieve academic, economic, and social mobility.

Learn More About TNTP