School’s out for the summer! 

For our students and tutors, no school means a break from tutoring, but for staff it means a lot of exciting work! Although tutoring just ended, we are already digging in and working hard to make sure next school year is a success. The Program Team is meeting with each of our partner sites to discuss our tutoring and parent programs and make sure they feel we are positively impacting their kids and families, and they do! We’re excited to keep building and growing these relationships.

Our staff is collecting and evaluating grade data from all of the students in our program, which takes time since our students attend nearly 100 different schools. This means there are lots of different grading systems and ways of evaluating progress. So far the data and surveys look great!

We’re also looking at the number of kids we served and the amount of tutoring sessions we provided. The numbers aren’t all in yet, but it looks like we served almost 20% more students during the 2015/2016 school year! 

But that’s just a tiny glimpse of the work we do in the summer! In addition to crunching the numbers to determine our impact, we also update the curriculum on our iPads and in our Language Arts, Math, Science, Creativity and Calm Kits. It takes lots of research to make sure our curriculum always contains up-to-date resources at every site to help our tutors teach our kids the key concepts they need to learn in each grade level.

To make sure tutoring is a success, we actively focus on recruiting and training new tutors to start during the fall semester. Each year we need to fill 450 tutor spots in order to serve the number of children that require our services. While lots of our tutors stay year after year, about half of them leave due to work and life obligations. That means our amazing Volunteer Coordinator Samantha and the rest of staff are getting about 200 new volunteers on board. This includes evaluating volunteer applications, conducting interviews with potential tutors, interviewing volunteer’s references and running background checks – all things that happen before tutors even get to go through our 2.5 hour orientation!

New volunteers aren’t the only people who get trained during the summer. Our Program Coordinators, our staff who make sure that tutoring runs smoothly at each location each night at tutoring, also go through training each summer. We hire new Program Coordinators as our sites expand and hours change. And even if we don’t hire any new Program Coordinators, we always plan comprehensive trainings so that these staff members are up to date with all curriculum and program changes in order to keep being the best educational resource for the kids and families we serve.

In addition to all the planning for next year, School on Wheels has some great summer projects! Check out the blog on our really cool portable art kits that we sent home with students this summer. Then stay tuned for more about our summer enrichment program at Salvation Army Barton Center in July called It’s a WRAP!

Want to help make our next school year great? Apply to become a volunteer tutor today!