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Last school year, we made a call to our local United Way and inquired about any available volunteers to help with an after-school tutoring program. Pennsylvania’s Accountability Block Grant (ABG) had been funding our before-school interventions in math and reading in previous years, but money coming from the state has been greatly reduced, causing us to look elsewhere for resources in reaching those students who could only come after-school for help.
A representative from the United Way came out to our school and met with a teacher leader and I, and asked us about our program and how we wanted the UW to help out. We provided a job description of the proficiency of tutors we were looking for, the times and dates and within two weeks, we had four volunteers- all retired teachers from the area. As the year went on, we built the number of volunteers as well as the students who needed the extra support. The local media story of the program we implemented can be found here.
Yesterday, we met again with the United Way, to plan next steps for our volunteer program this year. We learned about a new feature, an online electronic volunteer application/signup that we can embed on your school’s website and family engagement wiki. We will use this added feature to make the recruitment of available and talented volunteers a more seamless process this year. Parents and community members will easily be able to search for and be sent the volunteer job description, decide if the position is something they are interested in, and be in the school helping our students within days. *Be sure to check with your district’s regulations regarding background checks and clearances.
As we are all well aware, we find ourselves in troubling economic times where the resources to compensate staff to tutor students outside of school hours is simply not available. It’s a great time to take a good look at the availability of local and qualified people willing to donate their time to help your students. Chances are, you probably have some folks, whether retired or simply wanting to make a difference in your community right now waiting for this opportunity. Your students will no doubt be the benefactor.
Questions? I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a tweet to @joe_mazza.