Case Study: Augustine Literacy Project

Pencil Spaces Team
March 13, 2024


In operation since 2005, Augustine Literacy Project (ALP) is a multi-million dollar non-profit and the only one approved to operate within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system as a Tier III literacy service. ALP focuses primarily on 1st and 2nd graders using Science of Reading curricula, based on Orton-Gilingham methodology, to bring students up to grade level. To expand its impact, ALP recently embarked on a transformative journey to improve its operational efficiency. Faced with the challenge of managing remote tutoring sessions using disparate tools such as Zoom and Google Slides, ALP sought a unified solution to streamline its operations and enhance its ability to reach students effectively.


During the pandemic, ALP shifted to providing 100% of its tutoring services virtually. When schools re-opened, several wanted to continue with remote services. With remote and in-person sessions taking place in tandem, ALP realized that results for remote were virtually identical to in-person. ALP had long been limited by logistical hurdles due to the geographical disparity between its volunteer tutors, often located in well-off areas, and its students in disadvantaged areas hours away across town. Recognizing they could increase their impact by investing in remote capabilities, ALP pursued a platform to facilitate seamless communication and collaboration.

Problem Statement

The use of multiple systems for remote tutoring sessions posed significant challenges for ALP and training new teachers consumed substantial time, taking up to three weeks. Particularly given the tutors are volunteer and not required to have an education background. These factors limited the organization's ability to scale effectively.

Most importantly, ALP faced challenges in delivering the full value of its unique literacy program. In class, tutors and students were using a combination of Zoom and Google Slides. While these platforms provided a way of delivering remote lessons, they fell short in facilitating the interactive elements crucial to ALP's literacy method. ALP emphasizes hands-on learning, using manipulatives like letter tiles, word mats, and letter tracing exercises. The limitations of screen sharing in Zoom and the cumbersome nature of simultaneously managing both Zoom and Google Slides limited the experience for young students.


ALP transitioned from its fragmented systems to Pencil Spaces in September 2023. This allowed ALP to consolidate its work into a single, user-friendly interface, streamlining operations and reducing complexity. Through the adoption of Pencil Spaces, ALP saw large gains quickly. The onboarding process for new teachers was significantly shortened, shrinking from ten days to just a few hours, and enabling changes to materials to be made centrally, empowering ALP to respond swiftly to the needs of its students.

Pencil Spaces also proved to be significantly more intuitive and efficient. ALP noticed that students and tutors using Zoom and Google Slides would still be logging in while those using Pencil Spaces were already two exercises into their lesson. Now, sessions are covering in 45m what used to take over an hour — an increase of over 25%. The extra 15m is being put towards post-session tutor feedback and professional development.

Results  Callout box

Increased Simplicity: Six systems → All-in-One

Reduced classroom training: 24 hours → 8 hours

Better sessions: 25%+ more content covered per session

Better tutoring: Recovered time used for tutor feedback


By leveraging Pencil Spaces’ unified platform for remote tutoring, ALP has positioned itself to better fulfill its mission of providing literacy support to disadvantaged areas. With a single, simple platform that allows tutors to deliver the requisite content for a lesson in under an hour, ALP is able to scale. It plans to invest even further in the Pencil Spaces ecosystem, implementing additional capabilities like automated attendance tracking, granular reporting on student engagement and AI support for tutors to ensure they’re operating as effectively as possible in the classroom.

Pencil Spaces Team
March 13, 2024

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