Exclusive: State Superintendent Ryan Walters Unveils New Tutoring Program

News 9 traveled exclusively alongside Walters during his visit to Minco, as he unveiled his new tutoring initiative. We got a first-hand look inside some Minco classrooms, and the ways they’re succeeding. 

Friday, November 17th 2023, 5:21 pm



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The state department of education is rolling out a new tutoring initiative, hoping to increase reading and math proficiency across the state. This follows a state report card showing that Oklahoma’s testing scores decreased over the last year.

State Superintendent Ryan Walters traveled to Minco, which was one of the top performing schools over the last year. Walters met with administrators, teachers and students, and is hoping to transfer some of their means for success across the rest of the state.

“We want to tell the story of schools that are successful and how to replicate their success across the state,” said Walters. 

News 9 traveled exclusively alongside Walters during his visit to Minco, as he unveiled his new tutoring initiative. We got a first-hand look inside some Minco classrooms, and the ways they’re succeeding. 

“We have a vision here of learning and being the best at everything we can be at, whether it be the classroom, athletics or the gym,” said Minco Superintendent Kevin Sims.

The district has taken more than 80 students through open transfer, 10 percent points over the state average in reading and math with much lower chronic absenteeism than much of the state.

“They do a lot of intentional things here to make students that fall behind in reading have that direct help,” said Walters. 

Walters is hoping his new tutoring plan puts the rest of the state on the same high level as Minco.

“This is where we've got to be more intentional for the kids that fall behind is to not just offer programs but really explain to parents the benefit of the program,” said Walters. 

One program will start as soon as next week, and will operate similar to a summer school program, but during Thanksgiving and winter break. Teachers and community members will volunteer to tutor some of the low performing students, so they don’t fall behind while they’re not in class.

“It is a targeted approach to the students that are falling behind and the districts that are performing at the bottom,” said Walters. 

Walters says both Tulsa Public Schools and Oklahoma City Public Schools will be the first two districts to be invited to participate, and as the resources increase, it will be offered to more schools across the state. 

As OKCPS spokesperson told us in a statement, “OKCPS has been contacted by OSDE about the opportunity to implement a new tutoring program for students during school breaks. Our instructional teams are currently working through logistics to see if this program is something that the district can implement in the coming weeks.”

Walters says 200 volunteers have already signed up to tutor, and is hoping the program continues to expand. 

The second program will kick off next year and will pay retired teachers up to $50 an hour to participate in after school tutoring.

“Starting January 1st, we've already got applicants for this, we are going to pay folks starting at $50 an hour and then pay them performance bonuses based on student growth,” said Walters.

He explains this will be paid for through a federal after-school grant program. Walters also says that transportation and meals will be paid for through the grant, to further incentivize students who are in need of additional tutoring.

“When we're making these improvements in education, when we're changing the status quo in education, what we're doing is putting the state on a pathway to being a national leader,” said Walters.

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