The Schools of Hope AmeriCorps Project was evaluated in 2012 by Dr. Annalee Good, a national researcher who studies academic tutoring programs. Her findings include the following:
- Elementary SOH has a positive impact on student academic achievement in literacy as measured and triangulated using Text Reading Level (longitudinal), grade reports and teacher surveys. Tutored students showed greater gains in reading than a comparison group of non-tutored peers who were matched based on gender, race/ethnicity, English language proficiency and income.
- Elementary SOH is aligned to the existing research base on effective elementary volunteer tutoring programs and to the Madison district’s literacy curriculum.
- Stakeholders (school staff, volunteers and AmeriCorps members) feel they experience a high quality program.
Some of the Project’s strongest evidence of success comes from the hundreds of classroom teachers who consistently credit school-based volunteer tutors with increasing students’ academic skills as well as their enthusiasm for learning. Highlights of the 2013-14 survey results are:
Schools of Hope Annual Teacher and Staff Survey Results:
94% reported that volunteers contributed to an increase in students’ reading ability
92% reported that volunteers contributed to an increase in students’ math skills
94% reported a positive change in students’ attitudes during time with volunteer
92% reported a positive change in students’ behaviors during time with volunteer
Schools of Hope Annual Tutor Survey Results:
94% felt they contributed to students’ improvement in reading ability
93% felt they contributed to students’ improvement in attitude about reading
92% felt they contributed to students’ improvement in math skills
90% felt they contributed to students’ improvement in attitude about math
98% felt they had an increased understanding of student and school needs
The Project has demonstrated multiple successful elements:
- There is a high degree of alignment between its mission and the primary goals of the participating school districts regarding students’ academic achievement.
- The Project enjoys broad-based community support in terms of leadership from United Way, buy-in from non-profit and business partners, and actively engaged community volunteers.
- Through extensive training and individualized support, the Project annually nurtures a cohort of largely young and highly-capable team members without significant backgrounds as educators and ensures their success in educational settings.
- For more than a decade, the Project has served as a springboard for individuals who go on to future careers in education and public service. Its alumni ranks include numerous classroom teachers, directors and staff of non-profit agencies, members of government service and a cadre of committed, life-long volunteers.
This program has been recognized nationally as a leader in school-community tutoring initiatives and AmeriCorps programming. It has been honored at a White House event, used as a case study in the White House Call to Service, featured in the 2009 congressional budget justification, and published in a book of the 52 most innovative AmeriCorps programs in the country.