ATC offers the Book Buddies tutoring program, a curriculum developed at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education to teach struggling readers. It was specifically designed for use by community volunteers trained to tutor students individually, one-on-one. (Research shows that one-on-one tutoring gets significantly higher results than tutoring in pairs or groups.) ATC employs former teachers to train and oversee all tutors, write weekly lesson plans targeted to each child’s reading needs, and provide necessary reading materials.
Students in the ATC program are identified by Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) teachers as those needing reading support. Once parents or guardians give ATC permission to enroll a student, twice weekly tutoring sessions begin and are conducted October through May. Among ATC students, 81% belong to racial or ethnic minorities, 46% percent are English Language Learners, and 67% qualify for free and reduced lunch. All students served by ATC are residents of the City of Alexandria. In 2021-2022, ATC will tutor in eleven ACPS elementary schools: Charles Barrett, Cora Kelly, Ferdinand Day, James Polk, Jefferson-Houston, John Adams, Mount Vernon, Naomi Brooks, Patrick Henry, Samuel Tucker and William Ramsay.
ATC tutored virtually in the 2020-2021 school year but plans to return to in-person tutoring in 2021-2022.