Questions & Answers
about ONLINE tutoring with a Learning Coach
What kind of tutoring do you do and what grade levels?
We tutor ONLINE all grade levels, kindergarten through 12th grade, in Reading, Writing, and Math. Our specialty is struggling learners. In addition, all tutors hold one or more college degrees, and most work as teachers in schools. The Personal Instructional Coaches (PIC) for Reading have an additional Orton-Gillingham training from IMSE. These trainings support them in working with struggling readers such as: ◦ Students with dyslexia ◦ Students that need extra support to assist with phonological deficits ◦ Phonics instruction ◦ Students with ADHD / ADHD without hyperactivity ◦ Short-term/long-term memory ◦ Executive functioning and organizational support
Do you do any IN-PERSON tutoring, and would you come to my house?
It is very rare for any Personal Instructional Coaches (PIC) to drive to a student’s house or tutor in person, but it does happen on occasion for special need situations. Usually, if a student needs in person tutoring then the parent would need to drive to the assigned tutor’s location to meet as the schedules are very tight and would not have enough time to allow for driving between students. IF a PIC DID have time to drive to your location, there would be a price increase.
How do we get started, and how much does it cost?
Before tutoring can start, a diagnostic assessment is needed. It usually takes two to three separate, 75 minute sessions, for Reading, to complete, and one session for Math. We like to test on the weekends when the student has not been in school all day and can do their best. Each testing session costs the same price as a tutoring session which starts at $100 for each 75 minute session. The purpose of testing is to find all of strengths and weaknesses of the child to develop action plan before tutoring. After diagnostic test has been completed, tutoring is ready to begin. Tutoring packages offer the best saving which average $80 an hour as compared to individual weekly sessions which costs $95 an hour. The hour is broken down: 50 minutes face-to-face contact with your child, and 10 minutes recording the lesson, which includes emailing the parent the lesson overview, and planning the next lesson. All sessions are prepaid.
What kinds of tests do you use?
Testing is completed LIVE over the computer and with a person, NOT through a computer program. We like to see the student and hear the student go through the process of taking the assessments, as it gives us feedback about the student. On the computer, the student can mindlessly click away and may not perform to his/her best ability. We use a variety of tests which change based on how the student reacts and performs from one test to the next. What is important is that we gather data from all aspects of reading (phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, & writing) OR math (computation fluency and concepts & application).
How do I find out the results of the diagnostic tests?
There are four options regarding assessment results the parents can choose from: 1. Just start tutoring immediately. No additional charge. Schedule & go! This option does not have an assessment report to be given to the parent, nor will the results be reviewed orally. 2. Review the results orally with the parent as the parent takes notes through an ONLINE session for the same fee as a tutoring session ($80 an hour or prorated). 3. Get a short report (3-5 pages) which will have the results only. You will be provided with a digital copy for your records. An online meeting to review the results is included. ($150.) 4. Get the full report (25-30 pages) which explains the strengths, & weaknesses, by component: phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and writing. This report includes a full plan of action for the student in writing with the materials and strategies being utilized. Plus, we provide recommendations. Also, you will receive a digital copy for your records. An online meeting to review the report is available if needed. $400.
What happens after testing and the report is written?
After testing, the individualized lesson plan is developed, and a bag of materials is prepared for the student based on the assessment test results. The materials set up fee is $60 which includes delivery whether in person or shipped. The assigned Personal Instructional Coaches (PIC) meets with the Assessor for your child to review the results & lesson plan so that explicit instruction is ready to begin. The PIC contacts the parent for scheduling and to exchange pertinent information, and online learning sessions can begin.
How does the tutoring process work ONLINE?
The bag of supplies the student received was duplicated and the assigned tutor received the SAME materials. This way, when the student and tutor are online together, they both have the same PHYSICAL materials to make tutoring a hands-on experience even though it is online. In addition, the student must have a document camera, which will cost approximately $100. SIS will let you know exactly which document cameria to purchase so that the strudent and Personal Instructional Coach are using the same equipment. The document camera allows both the student and teacher to see each other's work clearly without raising his/her paper up into the camera. The teacher can make instant correction WHILE the student is working for feedback rather than after. It’s easy to operate, and we train the students how to use it the first 10 minutes of class! Plug & play. (NOTE: Does not work on an iPad.)
What curriculum do you use?
Our program is based on the latest research in the Science of Reading, SIS Personal Instructional Coaches (PIC) are trained in IMSE’s Orton-Gillingham’s methodology and all five pillars of literacy plus language comprehension, spelling, and writing – to drive measurable gains for all students. These components include: phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. IMSE follows a structured literacy programs which is also IDA accredited. IMSE's approach is explicit, direct instruction that is sequential, structured, and multi-sensory. Therefore, the materials used in the program vary depending on the needs of the student. In addition to IMSE’s OG program, we also use other research based best practices such as: ◦ Dr. Donald Bear’s research on word study ◦ Dr. Rasinski’s research on fluency instruction ◦ Kelly Cartwright’s research on word callers & Transactional Strategy Instruction (TSI) Your child will get a free bag of materials to target all his/her needs after being tested. Examples of what you may find in the bag will be: chips, whisper phone, mirror, pop-it used for phonological awareness; whiteboard with dry erase markers & eraser, finger tapping card, vowel tents, phonics readers for phonics instruction; an echo phone, highlighters to mark phrase lines, text sets on a USB drive for fluency rereading practice; and interactive notebook with a supply box full of highlighters, pencils, crayons, tape, scissors for vocabulary & comprehension work.
How many times a week will my child need to tutor?
The number of sessions vary depending on the strengths, weaknesses, and special circumstances of the student. A minimum of two times a week is needed for any student not on grade level. Often the schedules when school is in session make it hard to do much more than three. We do not tutor any struggling student once a week. The further the student is behind, the more frequent tutoring the student needs. Often parents double up sessions over the summer to give students a boost but tutoring JUST over the summer is not going to be enough time for a student to catch up. This is a practice we do not offer.
How many sessions will it take to bring him/her up to grade level?
There is no magic answer for this question. There are several factors that account for how long it takes the child to get to grade level. For example: ◦ Consistency of tutoring sessions ◦ Task completion with practice left to complete between tutoring sessions ◦ Where instruction needs to begin and how many learning gaps need to be filled ◦ If your child has a diagnosed exceptionality ◦ The treatment used to assist with the diagnosed exceptionality
Is there homework after tutoring?
Yes! Homework practice is SHORT (5-15 minutes), however, important to meeting your child’s learning goals. Examples of homework practice are: ◦ Rereading the decodable reader 3x to someone for fluency practice ◦ Complete 5 phonics workbook pages ◦ Decode 5-10 words following the syllable division procedure ◦ Make corrections to words spelled incorrectly in a previously written one-sentence summary ◦ Write an answer to ONE question after reading the text previously read together Homework offers that repeated & spaced practice to help get that skills or strategy to move from short term to long term memory and be able to retrieve instantly when needed.
How will I know if tutoring is working?
Look for indicators that tutoring is working such as: ◦ The teacher says he/she is starting to participate in class or become less disruptive ◦ Grades slowly start to improve in school ◦ He/she becomes a happier child ◦ He / she becomes more confident in their learning. ◦ Homework starts to become less of a struggle or more independent ◦ There are no more tears, less whining, or temper tantrums ◦ He/she asks for you to read to them or picks up a book to read alone ◦ He/she listens to an audio recording of a book (may or may not follow along with the printed book) ◦ Brings home a certificate or award earned from school… or even went to the “treasure box” ◦ The “AR” test was passed! ◦ In addition, we progress monitor during the tutoring sessions every 15-20 sessions if the student has been consistent
Do you help with homework during the tutoring session?
No. We will ask about what the student is learning in school to see if it happens to be aligned with the assignments, but we mainly focus on the student’s weaknesses to help fill in the gaps based on the diagnostic assessment. The teacher in the classroom is working on grade level and sometimes some below grade level work. In some schools, an additional intervention is occurring, too. Between the effort of all those involved, your child’s weaknesses will become strengths and get closer to grade level. This cannot be accomplished if we help with the homework, so it is best if homework is completed at home with the parent or hire a cheaper homework helper, such as a college student.
What if I cannot tutor one day?
Cancellation of Tutoring Class. The parent must give 12 to 24-hour’s notice when canceling an instructional session with the PIC. Students on a package have until the end of the month to use all prepaid sessions. The student on a weekly pay schedule will be given up to seven days to make up the cancelled session. It is the parent’s responsibility to check Tutorbird for open time slots to reschedule your student. SIS will make every effort to adjust when necessary to accommodate a family schedule; however, please be considerate of each other’s schedule. Cancellation on the day of the scheduled session will result in full payment applied from the prepaid account. Payment is non-refundable and the make-up is not an option. To assist in managing unexpected cancellations, the following options may assist you: oThe first 2 “OOPS-I forgot!” will be excused each school year. oIn addition, each student will get two unannounced SICK cancellations excused. Please let us know as soon as you pick up your child sick from school rather than waiting until tutoring time to tell us. oA reset will start the following school year (September 1 – August 31st). Emergencies. SIS understands emergencies may occur at the last minute due to unforeseen circumstances. The parent should contact the PIC as soon as possible and a determination will be made regarding any fee adjustments. Each student will get TWO family emergencies excused cancellations, only. Scheduled appointments, such as a doctor’s visit, will not count as an emergency. After that, emergency no-shows will be reviewed by the SIS team to consider adjustments but no guarantees.
Do you send out reminder calls or texts about tutoring?
We are very busy tutoring one student after another on many days, and do not have personal assistants to send our reminders. Therefore, it will be very important for you to keep track of your own schedules the same way you would for work, school, due assignments, football, ballet, etc. We suggest you put it on a family calendar. It will be very important to PLEASE, not leave your child’s Personal Instructional Coaches (PIC) hanging online wondering where you are if you forgot your schedule. If you don’t show up after 10 minutes, the PIC will send you a text message or two, but that does not always guarantee you will receive it, so please do your best to remember so additional fees are not incurred if forgotten. It is the Parent’s responsibility to check the Parent and Student Portal regularly to confirm the PIC schedule for their child. For your convenience, it is suggested to add the Tutorbird link on to the homepage on your phone. If you think there is a mistake, please feel free to call or text your PIC. Also, the link to connect with the online Instructional session is on the portal’s calendar. Just click on the day and it will open. A link to the zoom session should appear.