It was recently announced that thousands of Louisiana families will receive $1,000 tutoring vouchers in order to help children learn to read, according to this news release from the Louisiana Department of Education.
The launch of LDOE’s Steve Carter Literacy Tutoring Program entails that Louisiana families with children in kindergarten through fifth grade will be connected with high-quality literacy tutors. An online portal has been created so that Louisiana families can learn more about the tutoring vouchers, the program, and even sign up to be notified via email about when the new program will accept student registration later this year.
Created in honor of the late Baton Rouge State Representative Steve Carter, the Steve Carter Literacy Tutoring Program is the result of Act 415 of the 2021 Legislative Session (RS 17:4032.1). As part of the $40 million investment by the Louisiana Department of Education, state education leaders will be able to implement this program as part of a comprehensive strategy to combat Louisiana’s literacy crisis.
Jenna Chaisson, the Deputy Superintendent, expects the program’s investment will bridge Louisiana’s literacy gap. She commented by saying, “the Louisiana Department of Education has invested $40 million dollars to fund the program as part of the state’s comprehensive strategy to combat Louisiana’s literacy crisis.”
Currently, school systems in Louisiana are identifying students who meet eligibility requirements and notifying families accordingly. Essentially, students in grades K-3 are eligible if they scored below proficient on their beginning-of-year screener, and students in grades 4-5 are eligible if they scored below Mastery in ELA on the Spring 2022 LEAP assessment. LDOE directs any parents who are unsure of their child’s eligibility to contact their school for additional information; alternatively, they can email LouisianaLiteracy@la.gov.
New Orleans Representative Jason Hughes reflected on Louisiana’s national standings as seen in the recently-released NAEP scores by saying, “a few weeks ago when the Nape scores across the nation were released Louisiana showed the most growth in the nation amongst 4th graders with respect to reading. So we are on the right track but we have to use every tool out of the toolbox.”
The Steve Carter Literacy Tutoring Program enables students to get more individualized attention from certified teaching professionals who have been approved by the Louisiana Department of Education. Once the program’s student registration opens, families will be able to utilize the tutoring program’s “one-stop shop” for selecting, vetting, and approving of qualified tutoring providers. Families will register their students with the initiative via an easy-to-use quality assurance portal, which is at http://www.louisianatutoringinitiative.com. In fact, in certain cases, a child’s school system may be a tutoring provider, but otherwise, the child’s school system will provide a tutor from its approved list of tutors.
Tutoring appointments are set to be scheduled between the parent/guardian and tutor and may take place at a mutually agreed upon location which can be a physical or virtual location, according to preference. Multi-lingual tutorswill also be available to accommodate students who do not speak English as a primary language.
Dr. Cade Brumley, the Louisiana State Superintendent, commented on the tutoring vouchers by saying, “this voucher is another tool in the toolbox to help kids learn to read. For individualized tutoring, it would cover about 25 sessions over the course of the year. If they want small group tutoring with a group up to 3 students they would be able to receive 35 sessions over the course of the year. Steve Carter believed in helping kids – that’s what this program does. ”
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