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. SAGA is able to do this because of the passion and dedication of SAGA Fellows – full-time tutors who devote themselves to a service-year to build lasting relationships with students and their families. SAGA recruits highly talented recent college graduates, career changers or retirees--anyone dedicated to social justice and looking for a profound service experience in helping to dramatically transform the academic trajectory of students from high-need communities.
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.
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.
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