This summer, Team Read assisted with a virtual test project developed for Tier II Lowell students who were identified by teachers as needing specific support, given school disruptions and potential for expanding gaps. Lowell’s math team developed the curriculum, and Team Read advised about how teen tutors could best be added to their vision and work. We assisted with training design and providing implementation support during the five-week program.

Team Read was asked to provide teen coaches, in light of the impact they have had in working with young readers for several years. We have long-considered math coaching as a potential area for expanding our work, and this project provided a great opportunity to see how it could be achieved.

Seven experienced Team Read teen coaches were selected and trained to work one-on-one with two math students per week. They practiced the math concepts presented and modeled by two teachers at the beginning of each 45-minute session.

When the program started, teen math coaches shared their goals for tutoring, such as:

“Making a difference and helping students maintain their math skills over [summer] break.”

“Other than building a bond, I really look forward to learning how my student understands math.”

And their students had these perspectives as they started the program:

“Math is important because you learn new things if you do more math and you get smarter, and you need to be smart. And you use it every day.”

“Math is hard when you do new things and you don’t know how to do it. It makes me mixed up, confused.”

At the end of the program, the tutoring pairs and their families reflected on the experience:

“I enjoyed helping students with things they found difficult at first, such as multiplication, and seeing them use it in future problem solving.” – Math Coach

“I liked being challenged and doing it in a short amount of time.” – Math Student

“We’re so glad our son got to participate. He wasn’t sure at first, but has had nothing but good things to say about it since the first day! He loved working with his mentor, and it was so great to hear his enthusiasm for learning from the other room every Tuesday morning!” –Parent of a math student

Dustin Cross and Rachel Mateo, Lowell Elementary Teachers who created and ran the program, were thrilled to have teen coaches as “near peer” partners, working one-on-one with young students to provide additional practice and reinforcement. The teen coaches enabled the students to be more engaged, have more discussions about the learning activities, and they didn’t shy away from a challenge.