Closing the achievement gap is an often talked about goal in the Sun Prairie Area School District, and the Schools of Hope AmeriCorps project is offering a means for community volunteers to help.
Schools of Hope is a tutoring program C.H. Bird, Creekside, Northside and Westside elementary schools have been using since 2005 in an effort to offer one-on-one math and literacy help for struggling students.
“You really can make a difference with just a half an hour with a student,” Faith Lowry, tutor coordinator based out of Westside Elementary School, said. “It takes time to build a relationship, but, once you get comfortable with them, the student does learn with that one-on-one attention.”
She is one of two AmeriCorps tutor coordinators working with the Sun Prairie elementary schools. United Way of Dane County and Centro Hispano of Dane County also partner to make the program possible.
Each tutoring session is about half an hour long, and volunteers can help out for that time, or longer – whatever fits with their schedule, Lowry said.
“We’re always in need of more volunteers,” Lowry said. “It really depends each year (on teacher referrals)… but, really, there is a need.”
To become a tutor, those interested can apply on Schools of Hope’s website. Applicants will be asked to sign a disclosure form, which will allow for a background check. After that, a tutor coordinator will be contacted, who will talk to potential volunteers about their interest and skill set. After that, volunteers will be asked to complete a training.
One training session from 5-7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 22 at Creekside Elementary School.
After that, Lowry and Sun Prairie’s other tutor coordinator, Rebekkah Rubin, can offer advice and resources for volunteers if needed.
Schools of Hope is also present in Prairie View Middle School and Cardinal Heights Upper Middle School. This math and literacy tutoring program is directed by Urban League of Greater Madison.
For more information, visit schoolsofhope.org.