Following Competitive Process, SF Ed Fund Selected to Join National Community of Practice, Build Evidence Base for Cost-Effective, Sustainable Learning Solutions
San Francisco, CA (October 31, 2022) — The San Francisco Education Fund, a nonprofit that mobilizes the community to support equitable access to a quality education for local public school students, BookNook, and the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) today announced they have been awarded $250,000 in competitive grant funding for a collaborative high-impact literacy tutoring initiative through the BookNook virtual platform. This effort supports the acceleration of student learning for those most affected by unfinished learning resulting from the pandemic.
The award, presented by nonprofit organization Accelerate, is part of a broader national effort to develop and scale sustainable, cost-effective models for high-impact tutoring that boost academic achievement for all students.
SFUSD serves more than 49,000 students in total, over half of whom are faced with financial challenges and limited access to academic support beyond the classroom. Last week, new data revealed that SFUSD’s literacy proficiency further dropped during the pandemic, of which students of color were most impacted.
SFUSD and SF Ed Fund have partnered with Accelerate, Booknook, DCYF, and various afterschool host programs to provide free small group tutoring to thousands of SFUSD students up to three times each week. BookNook works with tutors from across the nation who lead sessions virtually over the computer. Students log on to a computer either in their classrooms, in an afterschool program, or from home.
High-impact tutoring accelerates academic learning gains for students who may not otherwise be able to afford expensive intervention. This initiative was first piloted in the summer of 2021, then implemented more broadly in the spring of 2022, serving over 4,500 SFUSD students. Over 40 percent of students who began tutoring with 1-4 years of unfinished learning ended last school year on grade level following this intervention.
“Tutoring is an incredibly effective way to ensure a more equitable educational experience for every San Francisco student,” says Stacey Wang, CEO of the San Francisco Education Fund. “It is critical now more than ever that organizations, agencies, and community partners come together to leverage our collective resources and build a bridge across the opportunity gap that our students are facing. This kind of innovative, city-wide partnership is a model we hope will spread across San Francisco and we are looking forward to sharing with other cities as well.”
“BookNook is honored to be part of this collaboration between government and community institutions in San Francisco to implement a scalable model that can be replicated across cities throughout the United States,” says Michael Lombardo, Founder and CEO of BookNook. “We hope this partnership between the city, school district, and nonprofits can serve as the template to build an ‘ecosystem’ of tutoring to help our students accelerate their academic growth.”
The San Francisco Education Fund is one of 31 research and education partners selected to receive the award, as well as to join a community to share best practices and resources and ultimately help inform Accelerate’s national research and policy agenda.
“We know that good tutoring programs work — partly because well-off families have used them to boost student success for generations. And we know that those same programs can be a powerful tool to close racial and economic opportunity gaps when we give less privileged students the same access. What we haven’t figured out yet is how to make high-impact tutoring available for everyone,” said Accelerate CEO Kevin Huffman. “With districts deciding how to spend one-time federal funds to combat the effects of the pandemic, solving that challenge has never been more urgent.”
Accelerate’s announcement of the inaugural cohort of grantees follows a competitive national selection process. In spring 2022, Accelerate, as part of its launch, released a Call to Effective Action to recruit partners to help it design, launch, and scale high-impact tutoring efforts and to build a community committed to impact and to shaping the evidence base for tutoring. Partners interested in the initiative were asked to first submit a letter of intent outlining their high-level vision. Following review of more than 200 letters by a panel of diverse experts, finalists were selected and invited to submit a full-length proposal. Beyond the inaugural cohort of grantees, Accelerate will continue to make additional investments in tutoring innovation over time.
About the San Francisco Education Fund
The San Francisco Education Fund is a nonprofit organization which mobilizes the San Francisco community to support equitable access to a quality education for public school students through tutoring and mentoring, scholarships, teacher grants, and corporate school adoption. The Ed Fund envisions a future where each and every San Francisco public school student has equitable access to quality education so that they can engage and enrich the community. For more information, visit www.sfedfund.org.
Accelerate is a nonprofit organization that seeks to embed high-impact tutoring programs into public schools now and for the long term. Launched in April 2022 with an initial fund of $65 million, Accelerate funds and supports innovation in schools, launches high-quality research, and advances a federal and state policy agenda to support this work.
Accelerate is supported by Kenneth C. Griffin, chief executive officer of Citadel; Arnold Ventures; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and the Overdeck Family Foundation. For more information, visit http://www.accelerate.us.