Last school year looked much different than any of us anticipated. Despite having to rebuild our programs to connect virtually, we served more students and families than the previous school year!
During the 2019/2020 school year, we served 13% more families than last school year, ultimately serving 644 students experiencing homelessness and their parents. Together our staff and volunteer tutors provided 6,234 tutoring and academic support sessions across our 17 shelter and school program locations. Our staff of social workers, educators, and youth workers continued to deepen critical engagement with parents. We increased educational goal setting among parents and saw a 17% increase in goals met by our families! Studies indicate that programs that engage families in supporting their children’s learning at home are linked to higher student achievement.
Together, with our volunteer tutors, dedicated board and committee members, and supporters of all kinds, and the hard work of our students and their families, we have achieved the following outstanding results:
- 78% of the goals set by families living in transitional housing were met over the course of the school year.
- 81% of parents surveyed reported feeling they had the skills and knowledge to advocate for their child’s education.
- Of those enrolled in our programs across eight different school partners, 99% of School on Wheels students had a personalized learning plan to direct tutoring sessions specific to their strengths and areas for growth.
- 96% of teachers surveyed reported that School on Wheels’ students demonstrated maintenance or an increase in the quality of work done.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic throwing a curveball at us all during the 2020 spring semester, we didn’t let that stop us from continuing to make an impact after schools shifted to at-home learning. When Indiana enacted the stay-at-home order in March, we quickly rebuilt our entire program delivery model to ensure that we were able to support our students throughout this difficult time.
For the first time ever, we began delivering our programs remotely and without the daily in-person support of our 388 volunteers for the safety of our community. From March through July, our program staff provided a total of 372 virtual and remote tutoring and academic support sessions to our students. Thanks to technology like Zoom, BookNook, and FaceTime, we’ve been able to stay connected with our kids throughout this time and even expanded our tutoring services into the summer!
As summer approached, we made the decision to reinvent and expand our summer program from two sites into five. We shifted from on-site programming to a six-week low-contact literacy and enrichment program that allowed students to complete their work at their own pace each week. Our summer program introduced a new theme every week, so students got to explore and expand their knowledge on topics like outer space, arts and poetry, Summer Olympics, history, and so much more.
Students received learning packets at the start of the week complete with all the physical materials and resources they needed to work on their assignments. In an effort to combat virtual learning fatigue, our curriculum included all sorts of fun, hands-on activities that kept students engaged without the need for devices. While many of our students missed being in person with their tutors and education support coordinators, 90% of students surveyed responded that they enjoyed the summer program and learned a new skill!
Each of the outcomes we measure are key to helping the children we serve meet critical academic milestones that lay the foundation for future success. While the end of the 2019/2020 school year was unlike any we could have imagined, we’re grateful for the support we received that allowed us to continue making an impact in the community despite the challenges that this year presented.
Thank you to our donors, corporate sponsors, volunteers, and parents for their investment in our mission and vision. Together we are making an impact and achieving great results.