Ignite Tutoring Program Sparks a Love for Learning in St. Louis Kids
November 23, 2022
The massive learning loss for many students, especially children of color and those in high needs communities, has been a main concern in education these days. To address this challenge, Teach For America recently launched the Ignite Fellowship, a high dosage virtual tutoring program that supports student learning and a sense of belonging, and it exposes current college students to teaching. The program contributes to TFA’s goal of doubling the number of students that excel in 3rd grade reading and 8th math by 2030.
During the 2022-23 school year, TFA St. Louis will have a total of 50 Ignite tutoring fellows in our region who have been placed in local partner schools with alumni leadership. KIPP Wisdom Academy (Principal Justin Schulze, Houston ‘12) and St. Louis Language Immersion School (Superintendent Meghan Hill, STL ‘11) are focused on the 3rd grade for the entirety of the school year. Christina Salmo, Reading Interventionist at KIPP Wisdom Academy (STL ‘14) and Hannah Stout (STL ‘14), Assistant Principal at SLLIS, are both trainers who help support the development of Ignite tutors and coordinate the program in their schools. TFA St. Louis is expanding the Ignite Fellowship to a third school in the Spring semester focused on 8th grade math.
“I think there has been huge success with Ignite,” said Christina Salmo. “Working with Ignite as a trainer, I’m coaching tutors with their lessons in reading. There’s this confidence that our kids have in their own academic performance now. The program is not only tutoring our students but it’s also helping instill joy and a love for learning. As a reading interventionist, I love to see that.”
“Working with Ignite as a trainer, I’m coaching tutors with their lessons in reading. There’s this confidence that our kids have in their own academic performance now. The program is not only tutoring our students but it’s also helping instill joy and a love for learning. As a reading interventionist, I love to see that.”
Ignite’s focus is twofold: it’s about zooming in on students’ foundational skills while also giving them the opportunity to connect with college students from around the world. The tutors work to foster a sense of belonging among students. According to TFA’s Ignite impact report, 91% of students said they mattered to others at school after participating in Ignite. The program continues to be a great experience for everyone involved.
“The students are excited to participate!” Hannah Stout said. “It's been wonderful to see our kids engaging with their tutors and the content! The lesson materials and format are stimulating. I'm excited to see Ignite’s overall impact.”
Collectively, the Ignite fellows are set to provide 2,700 hours of tutoring for 150 students in the St. Louis metropolitan region during the 2022-23 school year.
“Right off the bat, I could tell the kids were incredibly bright and passionate about learning,” said an Ignite tutoring fellow. “I’m really looking forward to seeing the impact this program will have for student learning and for the teacher talent pipeline.”
TFA St. Louis is thankful for our invaluable alumni network and community advocates who are in our corner as we push to bridge the learning loss gap. The launch of Ignite makes it possible to continue sharing our passion for giving every child the education they deserve.
See the Ignite Fellowship in action around the country and hear about its impact through the voices of students and educators here.