African Ancestry Academic Success Initiative

The Bay Area Tutoring Association (BATA) African Ancestry Academic Success Initiative provides online, out of school time, culturally relevant and aware tutoring services in math, English, reading comprehension, digital literacy and computer science. The program was launched at the height of the pandemic in response to the learning loss in underserved communities, # of schools that closed, lack of high quality broadband services and barriers which prohibited learning. Our initiative provides both 1:1 and “high dosage” small group, culturally responsive subject-specific tutoring that meets students at their individual level.

In addition to academic support in math, English and science, the initiative includes:

  • A social and emotional curriculum to address the unique experiences and perspectives of students of African Ancestry.
  • Enrichment and college prep workshops to help students envision their future selves and prepare them for higher education.
  • Health and Financial Literacy workshops.
  • Computer science and coding instruction.
  • Cultural Fridays – students explore African American history, arts, self-advocacy, and empowerment to further foster a sense of pride and cultural identity among students, which can help them to feel more confident and motivated in their educational pursuits.

The program is designed to be flexible and tailored to the needs of individual students, making it a comprehensive and holistic approach to support the academic and personal growth of students of African Ancestry. It is also a collaborative effort between caregivers, families, teachers, and the community to help students succeed academically, emotionally and socially.


Students of African American ancestry may struggle in traditional primary education for a number of reasons. One reason is that they may face socioeconomic barriers, such as poverty and lack of access to resources, that make it difficult to succeed in school. Additionally, these students may also face discrimination and bias within the school system, which can make it difficult for them to feel welcomed and supported in their educational pursuits. Furthermore, students of African Ancestry may also have experienced trauma or have limited access to mental health services, which can negatively impact their ability to learn and succeed in school.

Another reason students of African Ancestry may struggle in traditional primary education is that they may not have access to teachers who understand and can relate to their cultural background. Research has shown students of African Ancestry perform better academically when they have one or more teachers who reflect their own racial or ethnic backgrounds. They also benefit from having teachers who are culturally responsive and able to provide instruction that is relevant to their experiences.

Additionally, schools in low-income communities that are primarily populated by students of African Ancestry may have fewer resources, such as technology, books, and extracurricular programs, and may have higher teacher turnover rates, which can negatively impact student learning and academic achievement.

Moreover, the curriculum and teaching methodologies may not be culturally responsive and may not take into consideration the unique experiences and perspectives of students of African Ancestry, which lead to disengagement, improper SpED placement, lack of motivation, increased suspension and expulsion.

Bay Area Tutoring Association has taken a number of steps to address the issues that may contribute to students of African Ancestry struggling in traditional primary education. These strategies include:

  1. Hiring tutors who reflect the racial and ethnic backgrounds of the students they will be working with to ensure students feel more comfortable and understood.
  2. Provide role models for students who may not have many positive examples of people who look like them in positions of power.
  3. Providing culturally responsive tutoring: BATA tutors are trained to understand the unique experiences and perspectives of students of African Ancestry, and are able to provide examples and experiential anecdotes. BATA Tutors also use effective listening and questioning methodologies that are culturally responsive.
  4. Partnering with schools and community organizations: BATA partners with several churches which serve the African Ancestry Community, San Jose African American Community Service Agency, Roots Health Clinic, Santa Clara County Alliance of Black Educators, Unity Care Foster Youth Services and Ujima Mental Health Services. These organizations provide supplemental services to students in need of additional resource support and can also help to ensure that the tutoring is integrated with the student’s regular school curriculum.
  5. BATA hosts Cultural Fridays, cosponsors special events and participates in regional activities i.e. Black Family Day, Juneteenth, MLK Banquet and others. that are culturally responsive.
  6. Providing mental health and trauma-informed support: Tutors should be trained to understand how trauma can impact a student’s ability to learn and should be able to provide mental health support when needed
  7. Offering support to families: Tutors should also be able to provide support and resources to families to help them understand how they can support their child’s education.
  8. Tracking progress and providing feedback: The tutoring company should track student progress and provide regular feedback to families and teachers to ensure that the student is making progress.
  9. Creating a safe and welcoming environment: Tutors should create a safe and welcoming environment where students feel respected and valued.

It’s important to note that addressing these issues is not a one-size-fits-all solution and may require multiple approaches and continuous improvement based on feedback and evaluation.

How We Evaluate the Program:

We evaluate the effectiveness of this initiative by the following:

  1. Attendance
  2. Participation
  3. Parent/Caregiver Feedback – Caregiver input is an important part of the academic support process. We gather the feedback through surveys, texts, interviews, and/or focus groups.
  4. Student Feedback – Student input is constant as subject matter knowledge varies greatly from one topic or domain to another.
  5. Tutor Feedback
  6. Cultural Identity & Esteem
  7. Academic performance

Each of these evaluation methods provides a component of the overall comprehensive understanding of the sustainability, viability and areas for improvement.

Studies of successful extended learning programs:

There have been several studies on the effectiveness of extended learning tutoring programs offered by different tutoring companies. Some of the findings, conclusions, and recommendations from these studies include:

  1. A study by the National Center for Education Statistics found that after-school tutoring programs can improve academic performance, particularly in reading and math. The study found that students who participated in after-school tutoring programs showed greater gains in reading and math achievement than students who did not participate.
  2. A study by the Harvard Family Research Project found that after-school programs that provide academic support, such as tutoring, can have a positive impact on students’ academic performance, as well as on their social and emotional well-being.
  3. A study by the American Institutes for Research found that after-school tutoring programs can be particularly effective for students who are struggling academically. The study found that students who participated in after-school tutoring programs showed greater gains in reading and math achievement than students who did not participate.
  4. A study by the After-School Corporation found that after-school programs that incorporate enrichment activities, such as art and music, can have a positive impact on students’ academic performance and social-emotional development.
  5. A study by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation found that after-school programs that provide academic support and enrichment activities can help students to improve their academic performance, as well as to develop a positive sense of self-worth and self-esteem.

Based on these studies, recommendations for successful after-school tutoring programs include incorporating academic support, enrichment activities, mental health, digital literacy and social-emotional support. Additionally, it is recommended that our initiative should be tailored to the specific needs of the students they serve, include several facts of cultural relevance, and components of the initiative should be evaluated regularly to measure their effectiveness and make improvements.

Parent Engagement:

Parent engagement is important for the success of the Bay Area African Ancestry Success Initiative for several reasons:

  1. Communication: Parent engagement can facilitate communication between the program and the family, which can lead to a better understanding of the student’s needs and progress. When parents are informed about what their child is learning, they can provide additional support at home.
  2. Motivation: When parents are actively engaged in their child’s education, they can serve as role models for their children and motivate them to attend and participate in the program.
  3. Support: Parents can provide emotional and practical support to their children, which can help them to succeed academically. For example, parents can help their children with homework, create a study schedule, and provide a quiet study space.
  4. Cultural understanding: Parent engagement can be especially important for students of color as parents can provide a cultural context to the student’s learning and can help to bridge the cultural gap between the home and school. Also, parents can provide a sense of belonging and validation to the student by sharing the culture and history at home.
  5. Long-term impact: Research has shown that when parents are involved in their child’s education, the child is more likely to succeed academically and to graduate from high school.
  6. Advocacy: Parents can act as advocates for their children, ensuring that their needs are met, and that they have access to the resources and support they need to succeed.
  7. Collaboration: Parent engagement can foster collaboration between the program and the family, which can lead to a better understanding of the student’s needs and progress. Collaboration can also lead to the creation of a supportive learning community that can benefit the student, the family, and the program.

We will achieve our parent engagement through regular communication (text, phone, email), opportunities for parents to volunteer, training, and workshops. Our initiative is flexible and will eliminate barriers, accommodate different schedules and cultural practices to make it easier for parents to be involved.

New! Executive Functioning:

Bay Area Tutoring Association has added Executive functioning skill development! Executing Functioning refers to a set of cognitive processes that help an individual to plan, organize, initiate, and carry out tasks, as well as to manage time, attention, and emotions. These skills include working memory, cognitive flexibility, inhibitory control, and planning and organization.

Executive functioning skills are important for academic success for several reasons:

  1. Planning and organization: Executive functioning skills help students to plan, organize, and prioritize their work, which can make them more efficient learners. This can help students to stay on task, manage their time, and meet deadlines.
  2. Attention and focus: Executive functioning skills are necessary for maintaining attention and focus, which are essential for learning and retention. A child with strong executive functioning skills is less likely to get sidetracked and more likely to stay on task.
  3. Emotion regulation: Executive functioning skills help students to manage their emotions, which can be especially important when they are faced with challenging or frustrating tasks. When students are able to regulate their emotions, they are better able to persist in the face of difficulty and to learn from their mistakes.
  4. Adaptability: Executive functioning skills also include cognitive flexibility, which is the ability to switch between tasks or to think about something in different ways. This is essential for problem-solving, decision-making, and adapting to new situations.
  5. Working memory: Working memory is the ability to hold and manipulate information in the mind over short periods of time. It’s essential for learning, problem-solving, and decision-making. A student with good working memory can follow instructions, maintain focus, and learn new information more easily.
  6. Inhibitory control: Inhibitory control is the ability to suppress impulsive or irrelevant responses and focus on the task at hand. This is important for staying on task, following instructions, and making good decisions.