Gates Awards Professional Development Grant

NEW YORK –  December 7, 2010 –, the largest online tutoring and homework help service,  has been awarded a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to create a completely new professional development model that will provide on-demand, one-to-one support for math teachers. is now seeking school districts that want to be considered candidates for participation in the program.  School district leaders are encouraged to visit to learn more.
Research shows that teacher effectiveness is one of the most important factors for student achievement.  While there are numerous models and theories on the best way to support teachers, an ongoing, on-demand model has never been tested.  The On-Demand Professional Development program will evaluate this brand new model to understand the effects of connecting math teachers to an online teaching coach for private one-to-one help in a web-based classroom whenever they need additional support.
A New Professional Development Model Provides Teacher Support On-Demand is working closely with school leaders and classroom teachers to identify the specific areas of focus for the program.  One-to-one sessions may include working on deeper understanding of curriculum content, mastering effective teaching techniques or reviewing and refining lesson plans to achieve better results. Unlike seminar- or lecture-based professional development models, the program will be integrated into a teacher’s day and provide ongoing support as often as required throughout the school year.
Teachers will also receive an unprecedented window into their own students’ learning challenges, with the addition of’s award-winning Live Homework Help® service for their students. This program is already in use in school districts across the country because it integrates into a school’s existing curriculum to increase students’ relevant time on task and improves confidence, homework completion and grades.
Any time a student gets stuck on a homework problem, while studying for an exam or simply didn’t understand that day’s lesson, she connects to an online tutor for personalized assistance. The student and tutor work in real-time, using an online classroom that features an interactive whiteboard, application and file sharing and co-browsing.  Sessions are saved and available to teachers for review.
Teachers will receive comprehensive reports, including summaries of the topics and content areas that students are struggling with and requested help from online tutors.  Teachers will have access to detailed data and analysis of student usage at their fingertips, which can be immediately put to use in the classroom and help students achieve greater academic gains throughout the school year.
The On-Demand Professional Development program will focus on math teachers and students at the middle school and high school level.   A third-party evaluator will then design and complete a study to measure the effectiveness of the on-demand professional development project.  This research is scheduled to be available to educators at the end of 2012.
“Over 6 million times, our online tutors and technology have helped students overcome their challenges with on-demand one-to-one help,” said George Cigale ounder and CEO of  “We now have the opportunity to offer educators a new model for teacher support, which could influence professional development practices and impact classroom teaching for the coming decades.”
School districts interested in participating are encouraged to visit to learn more about the program.  Educators, researchers, and others may sign up to receive regular updates about the project.
About is the world’s largest online tutoring service. The network of over two thousand professional tutors and career specialists have delivered over 6 million one-to-one tutoring and career sessions in a proprietary online classroom optimized for learning, since 2001. powers tutoring and homework help programs for the Department of Defense; school districts across the country including East Baton Rouge Parish School District, Killeen Independent School District, Las Vegas Clark County School District and Broward County School District; the states of Alabama, Alaska, Kansas, Louisiana and Rhode Island; the District of Columbia, and thousands of public libraries. is the exclusive online education partner for the American Association of School Administrators. For more information, please go to

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Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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