Illinois Tutoring Initiative to Scale Statewide in Partnership with Pearl, Tutoring Platform


The innovative program delivers valuable high-impact tutoring from future teachers in seven Illinois colleges and universities to districts throughout the state

RICHMOND, Va.Sept. 15, 2022 /PRNewswire/ —  Pearl, the research-backed tutor intelligence platform, today announced that it will continue as the partner for a large new expansion of the Illinois Tutoring Initiative (ITI). The pioneering statewide program delivers sustainable, quality high-impact tutoring from the state’s future teachers to students in districts adversely impacted by Covid learning disruptions and losses.

With  leadership from Illinois State University (ISU), in partnership with Pearl’s tutor management resources and data capabilities, and with funding from the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (APR ESSER), the statewide tutoring initiative has already provided students and future teachers across seven higher education institutions with crucial clinical teaching experience while helping to meet the learning needs of students.

The program expects to reach approximately 8,500 students in grades 3-12, over a two-year period, with both in-person and online tutoring. With the support of Pearl, ITI will expand from the seven districts served over spring and summer to nearly 60 during the ’22-’23 fall semester.

The program is designed for tutors to meet one-one-one or with groups of no more than three students for one hour, three times a week for eight to 14 weeks. Lessons are tied to what students are learning in the classroom. High-impact tutoring is one of the only research-based interventions that has shown impacts in both reading and math across multiple grade levels.

“This is a highly strategic and thoughtful deployment of sustainable tutoring, with benefits for students and future teachers, and we are honored to support ITI’s innovative approach,” said John Failla, Founder and CEO of Pearl. “The ITI is a national model for meeting emerging and ongoing needs in education such as educating more dedicated teachers with great experience, while addressing the critical learning gaps exposed and accelerated by the pandemic to better serve students, statewide.”

During the height of the pandemic, ISU, the largest preparer of teacher education candidates in the Midwest and fourth in the country, implemented a free tutoring program so future teachers could develop experience while access to traditional classroom settings was unavailable. As a result of the program’s success, Dr. Christy Borders, a former Director of the Cecilia J. Lauby Teacher Education Center was selected to direct the statewide initiative.

“Bringing in Pearl to support ITI’s bold initiative to safely handle massive amounts of scheduling data while also serving as a digital campus experience with unique logins for multiple stakeholders including administrators, students, tutors, and parents, was strategic to ensure long-term success of the program,” said Borders. “Not only could Pearl offer the support and flexibility it takes to start and run a brand-new hybrid tutoring program, but the team had the experience and partnerships in place to collect and report the data so we could evaluate, improve and eventually expand.”

Pearl’s data, research and analysis partners include the Annenberg Institute at Brown University  with a mission to equalize and improve educational opportunities through actionable knowledge, human development and broad engagement and its National Student Support Accelerator (NSSA). Both organizations consulted with ISU and ITI in the planning and development, and establishing success metrics for the statewide tutoring program.

In the initial six-months of the program during the last school year, ITI recruited over 185 tutors from five universities to kick off multiple districts’ high impact tutoring programs that served hundreds of students across the state.

“The benefits of ITI tutoring services were also clear at the district level,” said Jeremy Larson, Superintendent of Paris District 95. “The ITI was able to step in and seamlessly deliver high-quality, individual tutoring services for our students at a critical time and really helped us meet some important learning goals.”

The other participating institutions include the Governor’s State University, Illinois Central CollegeNorthern Illinois UniversitySoutheastern Illinois Community College, and Southern Illinois University.

For additional information about Illinois Tutoring Initiative scaling ESSER funding tutoring, statewide in partnership with Pearl, please visit Pearl’s of Wisdom Educational Webinar Series, found here.

About Pearl

Richmond based, Pearl develops software for tutoring at scale. Our fully integrated classroom and administrative tools allow enterprise tutoring companies, academic organizations, districts, and states to launch and scale hybrid tutoring programs with ease. Whether instruction occurs online or in person, Pearl’s all-in-one tutor management system provides education decision makers with the tools needed to improve student learning outcomes. Additionally, in collaboration with the Annenberg Institute at Brown University and its National Student Support Accelerator, Pearl safely collects and protects the necessary data to prove efficacy and improve program design to ensure all students thrive. To learn more about Pearl, visit:

Media Contact:
Alyssa Miller