COVID Learning Loss

New National Partnership for Student Success Aims to Grow Tutoring & Mentoring Programs, Boost Student Recovery

The U.S. Department of Education today launched the National Partnership for Student Success, a coalition with education and service organizations formed to help the nation’s public schools implement and improve high-impact tutoring, mentoring, and similar programs to boost pandemic learning loss recovery efforts and better support student well-being.

The new effort comes on the heels of President Joe Biden’s call during the 2022 State of the Union Address for more tutoring and mentoring programs to help students recover from the pandemic, ED said in a news release. The NPSS will be managed collaboratively by the U.S. Department of Education, AmeriCorps, and the Johns Hopkins Everyone Graduates Center, ED said.

ED officials cited research showing that high-quality tutors and mentors positively impact student achievement, well-being, and overall success and noted that “many schools need help recruiting and training” adults to staff and implement such high-quality, evidence-based programs.

“The NPSS will bring together school districts, nonprofits, and higher education institutions to recruit, train, and place screened adults in high-impact roles as tutors, mentors, student success coaches, integrated student supports coordinators, and post-secondary education transition coaches, with the goal of ensuring an additional 250,000 adults serve in these roles over the next three years,” said ED’s announcement. “This will also help build the pipeline of educators. As more Americans gain experience working in our schools, more will seek out roles as teachers and student support professionals."

The nation’s K–12 students are about two to four months behind in reading and math because of school interruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic, ED officials said.

A recent study by researchers at Georgetown University found that U.S. school districts plan to spend just over half of the $122 billion in American Rescue Plan school funds for tutoring, mentoring, summer learning, and after-school programs, and to fill open staff positions in public schools, the department said. “These programs are most successful when paired with initiatives that support student well-being and mental health, like arts and music, and the programs like those supported by the National Partnership for Student Success,” said ED’s announcement.

“Now — more than ever — students need to feel supported, seen, heard, and understood by adults in their schools and communities,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “Today’s announcements and the launch of the National Partnership for Student Success will mean more students have a trusted adult in their corner, and more adults are prepared to address students’ academic, emotional, social, and mental health needs. Together, we can help all children make up for unfinished learning, recover from the pandemic, and prepare for future success — both inside and outside the classroom.”

ED officials said they are taking the following steps to meet the President’s call to action:

  • Launching the National Partnership for Student Success and recruiting 250,000 new tutors and mentors.
  • Expanding the department’s Best Practices Clearinghouse to share best practices around academic and mental health recovery efforts, expanding from its initial focus on safely reopening schools and addressing inequities made worse by the pandemic.
  • Calling on states and local education agencies to contribute to the Best Practices Clearinghouse to help ensure effective recovery practices are shared with other school leaders.
  • Tracking progress among school districts’ recovery efforts and programs through the Institute for Education Sciences, ED’s statistics and evaluation agency, which will use monthly surveys to track schools’ continued progress in providing summer learning and enrichment, tutoring, and after-school supports.
  • Highlighting how states, cities, and counties can help, ED’s announcement noted that the American Rescue Plan’s $350 billion in State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds can be used to support student success as well, explained in a recently published “White House toolkit.” According to the guidelines for SLFRF, the funds can be used “to hire and retain school-based staff; build the educator pipeline; and invest in other ways to support our students, including academic and mental health supports.”

About the Author

Kristal Kuykendall is editor, 1105 Media Education Group. She can be reached at [email protected].