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Online Tutoring Platform TutorMe Gains Popularity in K-12

The online tutoring company counts about 100 school districts as clients, many of which are looking to remote academic support to help students make up learning loss as money pours in from state and federal relief bills.

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A pair of large city school districts in South Carolina and Oklahoma contracted with the online tutoring platform TutorMe in the past few weeks, extending the platform’s free remote academic support services to about 63,000 more students as K-12 districts work to address growing achievement gaps during remote learning prompted by COVID-19.

According to an announcement Wednesday, TutorMe landed an agreement with South Carolina’s Richland School District Two to provide its more than 28,000 students with free access to 24/7 on-demand tutoring. The company last month announced a similar agreement with Oklahoma City Public Schools and its 35,000 students, and last November a deal with Saint Paul Public Schools in Minnesota, which serves 33,000 students.

“Our partnership with TutorMe will allow our students of all ages to have on-call help when needed and give each student the opportunity to thrive in any subject matter with no cost to their family,” Richland Two Superintendent Baron Davis said in a public statement. “The pandemic has made it difficult for students to seek out extra help. This new tool will hopefully bridge that gap, and I look forward to seeing the positive improvement across each classroom.”

Neal Kellogg, Oklahoma City Public Schools’ director of educational technology services, said in a public statement that TutorMe would be “a game-changer for [our] students, especially when students are working independently or in an asynchronous learning environment.”

According to CEO and co-founder Myles Hunter, TutorMe is now used by about 100 school districts, mostly in the U.S., where officials are increasingly looking to online tutoring to address learning loss following shifts to and from remote learning. The tool is also used by college students at Louisiana State University, the University of Texas at San Antonio and Washington State University, among others.

Hunter said the platform connects students with 15,000 tutors in over 300 subjects, currently serving more than 1.5 million students combined in K-12 and higher education. He said the platform largely focused on colleges and universities in the early years following its launch in 2016, but interest has been growing among K-12 schools during COVID-19.

“We started in higher ed out of our personal needs we were trying to solve when we were in college. We really struggled with finding tutoring options that didn’t cost a whole lot of money or weren’t extremely inconvenient,” he said. “(Online tutoring) wasn’t really being utilized much by students prior to the pandemic, and now the pandemic has really forced schools to re-evaluate what they’re offering their students.”

In addition to TutorMe, K-12 students across the U.S. have made use of other platforms that have emerged during the pandemic to provide free or more affordable remote tutoring, such as Step Up Tutoring and Wisdom Cafe, among others.

Noting the influx of money from COVID-19 relief bills and other allocations for K-12 technology amid the pandemic, Hunter said schools now have more resources at their disposal to provide free online tutoring. He called the pandemic “a catalyst for providing better quality academic support services” in schools and universities.

“A lot of schools are able to do this, whether they wanted to or not, or they wanted to but couldn’t afford it. The money is there, the need is there,” he said. “There is going to be a day very soon where it’s just a line item on a spreadsheet for a school district. It’s not a matter of, ‘Do we need online tutoring or this kind of support?’ It’s going to be a matter of, ‘Who are we going to use?’”

Editor's note: This story has been updated to accurately reflect the year TutorMe's platform launched. A previous version of this story identified the year as 2013, when the company was founded.
Brandon Paykamian is a staff writer for Government Technology. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from East Tennessee State University and years of experience as a multimedia reporter, mainly focusing on public education and higher ed.