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CPS doubling math tutoring program that NYC is now imitating

It’s been called math tutoring on steroids — a program launched in Chicago Public Schools in 2012 that focuses on disadvantaged adolescents.

The tutoring and mentoring program began at Harper High School in Englewood with 50 students and will expand to 1,600 students in the coming school year after getting glowing evaluations, school officials said Wednesday.

“It looks like it’s helping them stay on track to graduate,” said Roseanna Ander, executive director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab, which has been evaluating the program. “The kids are so engaged.”

New York is now implementing a similar program, Ander said, adding, “New York doesn’t often copy Chicago, but they did.”

The program, originally known as Match Tutors, is now called SAGA Innovations. SAGA plans to double the number of students being served across 13 high schools, according to a statement from Chicago Public Schools.

The program aims to help the students, many of them several years academically behind their grade level, to succeed in core math classes that are key for graduation. Ninth- and 10th-grade students get an hour of tutoring each day, with one tutor for every two students.

The U. of C. Crime Lab found the program significantly improved students’ math test scores. Data from the 2013-14 academic year showed grades rose .58 on a four-point scale and math course failures decreased more than 50 percent.

U. of C. researchers also are evaluating whether the program reduces arrests for violence and drug possession outside the classroom.

CPS is expanding the program with $5 million from a combination of federal grant money and a private donation.