Education, Investment Announcements

New Profit Invests $1 Million in Impactful Tutoring Platform Saga Education To Help Address Widespread Learning Loss in the Midst of the Pandemic

Saga Education is an evidence-based, personalized tutoring model designed to support students struggling with math to put them on a path toward high school graduation and postsecondary success

New Profit, a national venture philanthropy organization, announced that it will support Saga Education (Saga) with $1 million in unrestricted funding and additional strategic support to help founders Alan Safran and AJ Gutierrez and their team expand the organization’s impact.

According to research, 80% of students who drop out of high school cite course failures as their top reason. Algebra I is the course most commonly failed, and only 20% of students who fail Algebra I in ninth grade will go on to receive a high school diploma, compared to 85% of those who pass Algebra I.

In an effort to turn the tide for thousands of high school students around the country, Saga has developed a unique model that enables schools to embed evidence-based personalized learning interventions like rigorous tutoring into their regular school day. Students participating in Saga’s program are earning higher math grades and standardized test scores while becoming more confident in their math abilities.

“The education inequity that existed before the pandemic has only been exacerbated by the disruption to school and work. The only way we will help students get back on track is through a deep investment in rigorous, personalized engagement—meeting them where they are to help them get where they aspire to go. Furthermore, models like Saga not only address education equity, but by employing tutors they also address employment inequity.”

— Alex Cortez, New Profit Managing Partner

Through a dynamic tutor model, Saga offers consistent, personalized academic support in Algebra I—delivered with equal parts accountability and heart. In addition to their regular math class, students attend a Saga tutorial period where they work with trained tutors on individualized math materials in small groups. Saga provides its own content customized to each school’s scope and sequence of teaching for the year. Saga has now integrated a technology platform into its model to facilitate greater scale and customization—including a fully virtual tutoring program for Fall 2020 and beyond. The organization has participated in multiple, rigorous third-party randomized control trials and demonstrated statistically significant impact on math learning.

Saga currently serves nearly 4,300 students in Chicago, New York City, Washington, D.C. and Broward County, Fla.

“We envision an education system in which every student has the opportunity to reach their greatest potential. We believe that potential can be unlocked through the power of supportive relationships and through success in math, a topic where more often than not, students do not feel a sense of belonging or carry confidence in their abilities,” said AJ Gutierrez, Co-Founder and Chief of Marketing and Communications of Saga Education. “As education leaders work tirelessly to mitigate learning loss in the wake of COVID-19, evidence-based methods to help students catch up are essential. New Profit’s investment of both finances and expertise will enable us to increase our direct impact and disseminate best practices through partnerships. t Their insights and guidance have already had a transformative impact in how we operate as a business”.

We envision an education system in which every student has the opportunity to reach their greatest potential. We believe that potential can be unlocked through the power of supportive relationships and through success in math, a topic where more often than not, students do not feel a sense of belonging or carry confidence in their abilities.

— AJ Gutierrez, Co-Founder and Chief of Marketing and Communications of Saga Education

As school systems seek out new ways of offering rigorous learning virtually, Saga is needed now more than ever. The organization is well-positioned in this new reality to serve vastly more students and to help expand the widespread adoption of tutoring broadly once this crisis has passed.

Over the next four years, in addition to the unrestricted grant, New Profit will partner with Saga on leadership and board development, and strategic planning for growth and impact, among other areas.

To learn more about Saga Education, please visit www.sagaeducation.org