Who We Are
SAGA Innovations (http://sagainnovations.org) is a national nonprofit that partners with public school districts to provide underserved students with high-dosage in-school-day tutoring, at no cost to students or their families. We are able to provide this service because of the passion and dedication of SAGA Fellows – full-time tutors who devote a year of their lives to closing the academic achievement and opportunity gaps by building lasting relationships and impacting the lives of their students every day. We recruit highly talented recent college graduates, midlife career changers, and recent retirees to commit to a 10-month service year for modest pay. We also provide ongoing support, training, professional development, curriculum, and data management to drive our results.
SAGA’s approach to tutoring is unique because it differs from the traditional tutoring model. Instead, students meet with their SAGA Fellow during a class period as part of their regular daily schedule - in addition to their normal core classes - for the entire school year.
“My student Lacarsha always continues to impress me. She shows up everyday to class ready to learn. When she doesn’t get a problem right the first time, she insists on doing it over and over again until she gets it right. She is so motivated and ready to succeed!"
-Halle Shine, SAGA Fellow ‘17-‘18, Julian High School, Chicago
Our Mission and Core Values
SAGA’s mission is to transform the lives of the students we serve by motivating them to generate new levels of effort, developing their academic and problem-solving skills, and building their confidence, through personalized instruction and strong relationships among student, tutor, school, and family.
At SAGA Innovations, our commitment to our core values drives our work. We are:
Mission-Driven: Display an unwavering commitment to the success of the students we serve
Relationship-Driven: Live by the motto, “Kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Results-Driven: Consistently use data to guide instruction
Growth-Minded: Demonstrate hunger for feedback
Relentless: Display unparalleled perseverance and resolve
Collaborative: Work jointly to find creative solutions
Why We Do This
For every 10 low-income students who enter high school, 7 will graduate on time, 4 will enter college, and only 1 will earn a college degree by the age of 24 (The Promise of College Completion, 2011). Finding interventions that improve the academic outcomes of low-income students is one of our nation’s most urgent challenges. Very few educational interventions have targeted a key barrier to school success: “mismatch” between what regular classrooms deliver and the needs of students, particularly those far below grade level. The variability in academic achievement increases as students progress through school; by high school, many students in distressed communities can be three or more years behind grade level, especially in math, which research shows is a specific choke point in the pathway to graduation for high school students.
SAGA tutoring has been the subject of multiple large-scale randomized controlled trials conducted by the University of Chicago. Results have shown that SAGA’s in-school tutoring model is one of the most effective high school interventions ever studied. SAGA is committed to consistently and systematically testing variations to its model in order to offer the most affordable, implementable, scalable, and effective services to the districts, families, and students we serve. This work builds off of a randomized clinical research study by the University of Chicago, which was published by the National Bureau of Economic Research in 2013 and 2014, in which students gained up to 2.5+ years of math growth in one year of high-dosage math tutoring. This research shows that it is possible to make a difference in the academic trajectory of students in high-need urban communities—it is not too late.
SAGA Fellows commit 10 months of service to students in Chicago public schools. The Fellowship begins in mid-August and runs through the end of the 2018-2019 school year.
Fellows guarantee the academic success of students by focusing intently on individualizing instruction and building personal and meaningful relationships with their students for the entire service year.
Required qualifications, skills, and/or experience:
SAGA Fellows earn pay for every hour worked. In Chicago, Fellows earn $13.68 per hour and work a 37.5 hour workweek, with an extra half-hour per day allotted for lunch. Those who work a full school year, plus training, will earn approximately $19,500 for the service term. Over 10 months, Fellows receive 40 hours of sick leave and 15 hours of personal leave (7.5 per semester). Fellows do not work on federal holidays, during school vacations, or on snow days. Sick leave, personal leave, federal holidays, and school vacation days total about 30 days off by the end of June. Health and dental benefits are available to those who need access. In addition, every SAGA Fellow receives intensive on-site professional development and training on effective instructional techniques and student behavior management. There is a genuine opportunity for advancement within the organization after the program ends in June.
Equal Employment Opportunity/Non-Discrimination Policy
SAGA Innovations, Inc. provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, genetic information, marital status, amnesty, or status as a covered veteran in accordance with applicable local, state, and federal laws. The organization complies with applicable local, state, and federal laws governing non-discrimination in employment in every location in which SAGA has facilities. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including, but not limited to, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, compensation, training, and leaves of absence. SAGA Innovations does not tolerate harassment or discrimination of any of kind, including but not limited to, these protected classes. We are counting on everyone, individually and collectively, to give this policy positive and constructive support.
At a Glance
See and hear SAGA Innovations in action.