The type of company that offers federally funded supplement education service (SES) tutoring has changed in some cases drastically from years past. In the beginning, fairly well-known companies and not for profit agencies that already offered private tutoring services offered SES tutoring services to school districts. Many parents, already familiar with the names and services these companies provided, were happy to receive free tutoring for their children. School districts were glad to get help for the children experiencing the most challenges and were excited at the prospect of increasing school achievement.
In some school districts enrollment was paltry because the districts simply did not have the personnel, experience, time or money to implement the mandated tutoring requirement in the way the federal government envisioned. The federal government then stepped in to make it clear that school districts were obligated to advertise to parents that their children were eligible for free tutoring to increase enrollment. After that time, SES exploded. The number of enrolled children increased along with the number of providers, particularly small independent providers. During the first 2 years of SES, principals, teachers and other educators watched the program in action and in some cases, eventually hired by the well-known companies to implement their programs. Those individuals began to understand that they would be very effective in conceiving and running programs because they were intimately familiar with their students and the challenges they faced with achievement.
The number of provider applications in some states has doubled every year and because of the way the No Child Left Behind Act has set up their criteria for eligibility, the number of children participating continues to rise as well. The economy also played a contributing, yet unforeseen, part in this phenomenon. With the rise in unemployment, the number of children eligible for free and reduced lunch increased thereby increasing the number of eligible children. This coupled with increased teacher layoffs, all worked to create the current state of SES. There are now hundreds of SES tutoring companies who are providing SES tutorial services to millions of children across the United States. But of the many, a few have taken some bold steps in venturing into the virtual realm. As education changes, more and more of it will be done remotely. If you’re considering starting an online/virtual supplement education service tutoring company, there are a few things you should consider prior to launching your business.
Every SES tutoring company should strive to be as effective and cost effective as possible and strategic use of technology is an excellent way to cut on marketing costs as well as operational costs. Still other SES companies have chosen to run a Virtual SES tutoring program using laptops, Webcams, Skype, Portable Headsets, Go to My PC, MiFi Hot Spots ($20 – $80) – Verizon with or with-out a contract, Virgin Mobile, and/or Clearwire (In select areas) – no contract ($35 – $60).
There are various online programs that will either support existing learning books and curriculum or are stand-alone programs, and others that use technological tools to present the material to the students. The stand-alone programs are fairly simple, you pay a license fee per child (usually $5 to $10 per child per month or $99 a year is going to be typical) for the child to have unlimited access to their program. Many programs are interactive and are tailored specifically to each child’s learning ability. Learning CD’s will typically cost you a one time fee but you would be able to use the same CD for multiple children.
This is a necessary component of any curriculum that re-quires the student to have internet access. You cannot rely on the school system to provide computers though you can certainly ask if they would allow you to use their computer lab. There are a couple of things to note here particularly when it comes to costs and the students actually being able to use a laptop. Do not buy any equipment that is incapable of handling at least your basic windows. Windows CE for example is the same type of software that you will find on mobile devices and many programs, particularly your interactive programs will re-quire more capability. Netbooks are not a good idea, they are not meant to handle most interactive online curriculum and unless you get a warranty against any damage, you are bound to run into problems with broken equipment.
It may take some time to really do your research to find cost effective laptops and those laptops may likely have to be found overseas but your time is well spent looking for Laptops rather than Netbooks.
You should know if you are running an online program that some states and/or districts do not allow online SES tutoring programs – i.e. Connecticut. Before deciding which states to target, you may want to contact the state’s education agency and consult the state website to verify that online/virtual tutoring is acceptable for supplemental education services.