Saga Math 

Saga Math is a personalized, high-impact math tutoring infused with accountability and personal relationships to close the learning and opportunity gap in underserved high schools.

Ninth-graders Max Bratcher and Ken Watson didn’t like math, something they were more than happy to tell their math tutors at Ron Brown College Preparatory High School in Washington, D.C.

Their tutors happily and expertly turned their mindset – and math proficiency – around.

Saga Math tutors and AmeriCorps members Darian Bolen and Krishna Kumar work with the boys in a small group of three on various math concepts through math games and contests. The program includes a hefty dose of positive coaching and building students’ self-confidence in math and in tackling challenges in general.

Getting on “The Board” is a big goal for both boys. It’s a monthly compilation of Saga Superstars who have shown consistent growth, ask questions, help fellow students, and come to class on time. Another motivator are their individual positive progress reports designed to boost confidence.

Saga Math’s small-group settings, in-person or remote, during the school day, and 1:3 tutor to student ratio are purposefully designed to ensure that no student can fly under the radar. Kumar, who has been dubbed “the Human Calculator” by Watson, sees a tremendous mindset shift. “Every time Ken says, ‘Mr. Kumar, I can’t do this,’ I tell him that I’m going to set a timer and see how long it takes for him to say, ‘Oh that was easy.’ It’s a recurring joke,” he says. 

“Mr. Bolen isn’t like other tutors. He makes math fun. He gave me all fractions and decimals, which I didn’t like and pushed me to do something I never thought I could do. Now I’m attacking something I used to be afraid of.”

Max Bratcher, Saga Math student

Saga Math:

  • Full-time AmeriCorps tutors trained by 100 hours of preservice training and supported daily by school site directors and experienced teachers
  • Serving low-income, mainly Black and Latinx students, in Title 1 schools and districts
  • School-day tutoring sessions, in-person or remote using Saga Connect math tutoring platform
  • Modular curriculum and foundational skills math assessment tools administered five times/year
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