Small-Group Teaching and Tutoring

Create a scalable, sustainable tutoring culture, for all.

Research shows that when teachers increase small-group teaching, and when more adults tutor—including teachers, paraprofessionals, volunteers, and others—student learning surges. In Opportunity Culture schools across the country, Multi-Classroom Leader teams are achieving higher-growth learning in part by increasing the time students spend connecting and learning with adults in small groups.

Schools can double the extra learning impact of Multi-Classroom Leader teams

Opportunity Culture SIMPLE™ Tutoring Design

Our live, virtual professional learning series, Opportunity Culture SIMPLE™ Tutoring Design, explains our SIMPLE method for creating small-group instruction that reaches all students, provided by all available adults within the school. Sessions begin February 2024. Register now to guarantee your spot in individual modules or the entire series!

How Does a Tutoring Culture Help Students?

Despite a lot of effort in the field to promote small-group instruction, ​tutoring hasn’t scaled up in schools that still use the one-teacher, one-classroom model, given organizational challenges and costs of add-on programs.​

But in a tutoring culture, with MCL teams, all students have access to more small-group learning during school, and all adults provide small-group tutoring and teaching. ​

In a tutoring culture, MCL teams present a new frontier, with:


MCL-led lesson-planning power ​


Data-driven student groupings


More paraprofessional roles that can focus on small-group tutoring​


Focus on maximizing adult time with students, shifting all staff away from only whole-class instruction, with MCL support​

With all of that, schools can double the extra learning impact of MCL teams today.​​

Learn more from these posts and examples in Opportunity Culture schools:


Harness the Power of Small-Group Tutoring with Opportunity Culture Staffing: How can Opportunity Culture models maximize the research-proven power of tutoring? With teaching teams guided by teachers in the Multi-Classroom Leader role, Opportunity Culture schools can scale up effective small-group tutoring by paraprofessionals and team teachers, helping reach all students with personalized attention. This blog post offers schools some starting guidelines.


Kids Need Tutoring. Few Kids Get Tutoring. Opportunity Culture Models Can Help: A recent report from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that high-dosage tutoring reaches only about one in 10 students—despite the national push for it. But if schools build innovative staffing models such as Opportunity Culture models, small-group tutoring can happen routinely, during the school day. Schools should think now about using their Covid funding for planning and implementation, to create a sustainable, long-lasting tutoring culture. Read (or listen to) this blog post to learn more.


Use Innovative Staffing to Address Teacher Shortages and Boost Learning: Innovative staffing means thinking differently about instructional roles and available funding to improve academics, creating new career op­tions for teachers and addressing persistent teaching vacancies. While not solely focused on small-group tutoring and teaching, this brief shows how schools that reallocate funding from these vacancies for new staffing models can incorporate high-impact tutoring and more small-group teaching for all students into the school day, delivered by all educators, including paraprofessionals and teacher residents.


Dramatic Student Growth Follows Focus on Data, Small-Group Tutoring, and Collaboration: Lucama Elementary, a rural, Title I school in Wilson County, North Carolina, implemented several Opportunity Culture roles in 2021–22. Following a focus on data-driven, small-group tutoring, instruction based on the science of reading, and greater educator collaboration through Multi-Classroom Leader teams, the school dramatically increased student learning growth. In this audio piece, Principal April Shackleford and Lucama educators explain their success, and why it led them in 2022 to expand to schoolwide Opportunity Culture roles.

“In our state, in order to exceed growth, you have to be 2.0—our growth was 9.57 in one year.”

—Principal April Shackleford, Wilson, NC, describing results after engaging all adults in small-group tutoring on Multi-Classroom Leader teams in 2021–22.

See small-group tutoring in action in Opportunity Culture schools:

Getting the Most Bang for Our Buck: RAs Lead Small-Group Tutoring

Staffing shortages have plagued some schools for decades. Opportunity Culture staffing designs provide a solution that shifts schools out of emergency hiring mode—and boosts learning. Learn how Opportunity Culture tools address staffing shortages, including high-paying advanced roles, improved support for new teachers, and staffing models that do not require filling every teacher vacancy to ensure that students have access to excellent instruction.

Using Opportunity Culture Roles to Support Science of Reading-Based Instruction

The science of reading has “come alive” at Lucama Elementary, in North Carolina’s Wilson County Schools. Watch this video to see how the principal and her team of Multi-Classroom Leaders led the use of multiple curricula and data-driven small-group instruction and interventions—resulting in strong student learning growth.

A “Crucial” Opportunity Culture Role: Reach Associates Provide Small-Group Tutoring

At Bearfield Primary School in Hertford County, North Carolina, paraprofessional reach associates help improve student outcomes by providing instructional support on a Multi-Classroom Leader team. 

Educators in paraprofessional tutoring roles can advance to a teacher role in locations with Opportunity Culture’s paid residencies.