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Virtual English as a Second Language (ESL) Pandemic Tutoring

The Loyalty Foundation worked with Human Rights First (HRF) to provide crucial English language tutoring to children of Spanish-speaking refugee families located in Los Angeles in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. The free tutoring program was designed and executed by LF to be completely virtual and cost-effective to maximize the number of families receiving the service.



Client: Human Rights First (HRF)

Location: Virtual programming for families located in Los Angeles, CA 


Program Details


Services: Enrichment, Project Planning

# of Families Served: 18

# of Hours of Tutoring: 547


How We Helped

HRF reached out to the Loyalty Foundation in January 2021 when it was clear that in-person schooling was not returning in the spring semester. The student population in question is unique: they are children, either immigrants themselves or first generation children, of parents who escaped violence in Central and South America, finding refuge in Los Angeles. With HRF’s assistance, these families were on the path to starting a new life in the United States. The one towering barrier in this path was a lack of English mastery, particularly for children who arrived in their adolescent and teen years.

Virtual Tutoring

Given the limits imposed by Covid-19, the only option was virtual programming, an avenue that was new to HRF given their focus on impactful in-person services. LF was called to design a 500+ hour virtual tutoring program from scratch that would utilize expert ESL teachers from around the globe who could offer their services at a price that would fall within the budget of a modest grant proposal earmarked for this project. We did just that. After a grueling screening and interview process, 8 tutors were chosen to work with 18 families on a regular weekly schedule for nearly a year. 


Program Results

By the conclusion of the program, the students as a whole received 547 hours of 1-on-1 tutoring via Zoom over 311 days. The tutoring was facilitated by 8 tutors spread throughout the United States and internationally. The primary focus of the lessons were to improve English (ELA) proficiency across four factors (reading comprehension, alphabet, verbal, and spelling). Students were measured on three occasions: before starting the program, at the midpoint mark, and after concluding their last session. For each of the four factors, students were given a proficiency score of either very poor (0-25% mastery), poor (26%-50%), fair (51%-75%), or proficient (76%-100%). Every student measured made at minimum a single jump in proficiency score on at least two factors. The majority improved on all four factors, especially those who were initially rated at “very poor”.


In addition to objective metrics, each student provided their subjective experience with their learning progress, their relationship with their tutors, and their confidence in speaking English. Feedback was recorded over three distinct 30-minute virtual Zoom diagnostic sessions. 94% of students claimed that “working with my tutor improved my confidence in speaking English”. 89% of students expressed that they “enjoyed the tutoring sessions with my tutor”. 67% would prefer to “continue the sessions if they were extended”. The latter question showed that the majority of students found the tutoring valuable enough to willingly request time after school to volunteer in the program. 

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