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 schools across the country using Opportunity Culture® models, 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 these teams.

“Small groups always impact student growth!”

—Teacher in a Multi-Classroom Leader™ role

The SIMPLE-TC™ Framework

Our live, virtual professional learning series explains our SIMPLE-TC™ framework for creating small-group instruction that reaches all students, provided by all available adults within the school. Watch for upcoming dates to register for the 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 Multi-Classroom Leader 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, these teams present a new frontier, with:


Lesson-planning power ​through these team leaders​


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 team leader support​

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

Hear what team leaders say about using small-group tutoring in their schools:

Learn more from these posts and examples:


Harness the Power of Small-Group Tutoring with Opportunity Culture® Staffing: How can these strategic staffing models maximize the research-proven power of tutoring? Read how schools can scale up effective small-group tutoring by paraprofessionals and team teachers under the guidance of a proven, accountable team leader—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 for schools using carefully designed strategic staffing models that follow our five principles, 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: At Lucama Elementary, a rural, Title I school in Wilson County, North Carolina, following a focus on data-driven, small-group tutoring, instruction based on the science of reading, and greater educator collaboration through teaching 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 use of these team 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:

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. See how they 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 instructional team of 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, these advanced paraprofessionals help improve student outcomes by providing instructional support on a teaching team.  

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