In the summer of 2014, EdgeAhead board member Tyler Santangelo played in an elite 7-on-7 football league. The vast majority of the talented players on his team attended Detroit-area schools. As friendships developed among teammates, some of the public school students expressed dissatisfaction with the shortcomings of their formal education and requested information about attending private schools.  

The EdgeAhead students encouraged their friends to take the private school entrance exam and suggested that their parents speak with the school administration to determine if financial aid was available. The EdgeAhead students were elated when their friends scheduled an entrance exam and the school administration confirmed that financial aid was available. All they had to do was pass the entrance exam.  

Unfortunately, the exam results disappointed. Most of the students performed poorly, which prevented acceptance at the private school. The EdgeAhead students insisted that structural, rather than individual, barriers played a role in their low test scores. A poor educational system demoralizes students, and EdgeAhead’s students hypothesized that the special attention provided during private tutoring would help students realize their full potential.  

Selected EdgeAhead students tested their theory by tutoring twice a week for six months, and the difference was as clear as day. Despite the promising results, they knew they needed to create a structure that would expand the opportunity beyond their immediate friends. However, for a program of this kind to work successfully, they had to find answers to three major challenges: identifying qualified candidates, providing tutoring support, and funding the program.

How EdgeAhead Came to Be

EdgeAhead is a charitable 501(c)(3) corporation that provides educational services, in the form of online tutoring hours, to qualified students who aspire to higher education. EdgeAhead is a charity that will align itself with mentors and/or organizations to identify students in need of educational support.

Mission Statement

About Us

EdgeAhead Program

Where We Stand Today:


Identifying Qualified Candidates
After gaining success impacting the lives of scholar-athletes, EdgeAhead is now branching out to help a wider variety of students. For the 2018-2019 academic year, EdgeAhead seeks to launch a new campaign that works with Michigan foster children. Each student will receive a ten-hour online tutoring scholarship toward ACT or SAT tutoring. EdgeAhead aims to provide them with the tutoring they will need to succeed on standardized college entrance exams. This support will afford these children the opportunity to achieve higher education and become educated and successful members of the Michigan community. 

Identifying Qualified Candidates
It quickly became clear that the coaches’ strong influence extends beyond the field of play. The men and women who coach football are dedicated to the success of their athletes, and they strive to provide support and guidance to their players. The EdgeAhead students discussed their ideas with coaches who agreed that tutoring would provide an excellent opportunity to academically advance kids who want to attend college or university. The coaches also agreed that selecting the correct candidates is key to the success of the program. Because they know the character of their players, coaches are extraordinarily capable of identifying kids that will take the program seriously and devote the time necessary to benefit from the tutoring. 

Providing Tutoring Support
The EdgeAhead Team believes that qualified students require individualized training. Nevertheless, administration and management of the tutoring program present a number of challenges:

  • Where will the tutoring sessions take place?
  • How is the student transported to the tutoring session?
  • How do you manage the tutoring schedule?
  • How do you manage setting up the meetings with the tutors?
  • How are the tutors paid?
  • Are there enough support resources available to support the students?
  • How do you find the number of tutors necessary to support a large number of students?
  • How is the program measured for success?
  • Will the tutor create reports and, if so, how is the information recorded and reported?
  • Is an individualized tutoring program affordable?

The EdgeAhead students realized that a traditional tutoring program would not work. Locating qualified tutors, transportation of the students, and managing reports are obstacles far too large to resolve with a traditional tutoring program.  Their solution was to remove the obstacles by providing an online tutoring program. In the fall of 2014 EdgeAhead students signed up as students to test a well-known national online tutoring service and determined the quality was excellent.  The national on-line tutoring company removes the challenges of a traditional tutoring program and offers the following benefits:

  • Has on staff a large pool of talented tutors nationwide;
  • Eliminates the need for the tutors to be local;
  • Online program eliminates the need to transport students;
  • Provides online scheduling for the tutoring sessions;
  • Provides reports to monitor each student;
  • Tests the students at the start of a program and compares results on an ongoing basis;
  • Fixed cost program provides a manageable and cost-effective solution for the tutoring program.

The one challenge that the online tutoring service could not resolve was the location for tutoring.   The solution was to allow the student to tutor at home.  If a student does not have the internet, EdgeAhead will provide internet service for the term of the tutoring sessions. As the program matured, the idea grew from coaches to “mentor” or a person who plays an important role in a student’s life.