About Us

Welcome to the Online Peer Tutoring Resource Center!

We launched this site in November 2013 to support you, the k-12 educator, in developing and maintaining peer tutoring in your classroom, school or district- and to promote strategies that help students bond through shared learning. On this site you will find links to resources for setting up different types of programs as well as research on best practices. Our blog is another rich resource that showcases successful peer tutoring practitioners, expert advice from educators and informative articles on pressing K12 education topics. Our forum provides the opportunity to similarly learn from each other, ask and answer questions, and to share experiences, challenges and successes. Please help us build this learning community by providing feedback and sharing resources of your own!

Our History

In the late 1970s, the R.A.D. Schwartz Foundation initiated a peer tutoring program in the Oakland Unified School District (California) and continued to support this program for twelve years. The program eventually served more than 30 schools and regularly brought together educators, civic leaders, and parents for learning conferences. Robert A.D. Schwartz wanted to develop a practice for building good citizenship among students while improving academic outcomes, a vision he shared with former Oakland Schools Superintendent Marcus A. Foster. “We wanted to educate and build good citizens,” said Schwartz. The program built self-esteem among tutors as well as tutees, and was successful with diverse populations, including English Language Learners.

Based on the early success of this peer tutoring program and the current school reform movement in Oakland focusing on the whole child, the Schwartz Foundation became interested in establishing a permanent resource for teachers, administrators, after school practitioners, parents, and anyone else interested in using peer tutoring as an instructional strategy. In 2012, the Schwartz Foundation asked Urban Strategies Council (the Council) to initiate an inquiry process among Oakland schools, including public, charter, parochial and independent schools, to determine interest in such a resource and to receive advice on its development.

The Council convened an Advisory Board and produced a report documenting research establishing the success of this evidence-based practice in schools across the United States. It found that teachers and schools in Oakland were using at least three peer tutoring delivery models to support students at grade level, below grade level, and with social-emotional challenges. These included delivery cross-age within schools, same-age within classrooms, and cross-age in after school programs.

Based on the report and the recommendations of the Advisory Board, the Schwartz Foundation decided to develop an online Peer Tutoring Resource Center to serve anyone interested in peer tutoring. The Resource Center includes a research library, database of classroom and program materials, and a forum for practitioners to share challenges and successes. The Peer Tutoring Resource Center website was launched in 2013 with the aim of creating and sustaining a large network of educators interested in applying peer tutoring strategies as an engaging and effective support for their students.

Our Mission

The Peer Tutoring Resource Center is a project of the RAD Schwartz Foundation, which has supported peer tutoring in Oakland for more than 30 years. 

Mission: We aim to support the development of caring and collaborative citizens by enhancing the use, expansion and sustainability of peer tutoring – a model engaging students as instructors and leaders in classrooms and across schools.

Purpose: The Peer Tutoring Resource Center facilitates the use of peer tutoring as a strategy for improving academic and social-emotional outcomes for all students, including historically underserved populations, such as children of color, children from low-income families, English Language Learners, and students with learning challenges or disabilities. The Center supports teachers, after school practitioners, and other instructional leaders to systematically incorporate peer tutoring into classrooms and schools by providing a comprehensive online library of curricula, lesson plans, and tools; research on promising practices and documented outcomes; and a forum for sharing lessons, challenges, and successes.

How We Developed Our Mission

Planning for a Peer Tutoring Resource Center in Oakland – a report prepared
by Urban Strategies Council for the R.A.D. Schwartz Foundation
Peer tutoring is a student-led, site-based instructional strategy used to support improved academic achievement and social-emotional outcomes across the nation (and in Oakland) for more than 30 years.In the late 1970s, the R.A.D. Schwartz Foundation initiated and supported for 12 years a peer tutoring program in the Oakland Unified School District (California) that eventually served more than 30 schools and regularly brought together educators, civic leaders, and parents for learning conferences.

Based on the early success of this peer tutoring program and the current school reform movement in Oakland focused on the whole child, the Schwartz Foundation, in recent years, became interested in establishing a permanent resource for teachers, administrators, after school practitioners, parents, and anyone else interested in using peer tutoring as an instructional strategy.

In 2012, the Schwartz Foundation asked Urban Strategies Council to initiate an inquiry process among Oakland schools (public, charter, parochial and independent) to determine interest in such a resource and advise on its development.  The report below, Planning for a Peer Tutoring Resource Center in Oakland, examines promising practices and outcomes for peer tutoring; presents findings on current peer tutoring practices and capacity needs in Oakland schools; and makes recommendations for establishing a peer tutoring resource center beginning with an online resource library accessible to anyone interested in developing peer tutoring programs in a classroom or across a school.

Urban Strategies Council Report

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