How do we really invest in the Future?

How do we really invest in the Future?

Author: 
Michele

One of the reasons RSVP of Montgomery County, a multiservice nonprofit organization, has thrived and been so successful for the last 40 years, is their ability to quickly respond to the changing needs within the community by creating innovative programs and dispatching volunteers.

The organization has created a virtual math and science tutoring program: MyFreeTutor, targeting middle and high school students. The pilot math program will be launched in September and offered to ninth grade students in the Norristown School District with plans to expand the program in to the Greater Philadelphia area in the future.

Online tutors will assist students in basic math and algebra skills providing the opportunity for students to stay on track. Tutors will work in collaboration with the classroom teacher and will work directly from the student’s textbook. Students will be identified by their teachers, based on test scores, as needing extra support and guidance.

RSVP is currently seeking volunteers and corporate partners to invest in our students and their futures.
“This is a great opportunity for volunteers to provide assistance to students without leaving their home or office” says Michele Spencer, RSVP’s Executive Director. “It’s also a perfect opportunity for local and national corporate employees to help prepare the next generation to compete in the global marketplace.”
According to a recent Program for International Student Assessment survey, students in the U.S. continue to lag behind in academic performance. In their comparison of 57 countries, U.S. students performed near the middle of the pack. On average, 16 other industrialized nations scored above the U.S. in science, and 23 scored above us in math.
“We can reverse that trend locally” says Spencer. “Our volunteer tutors will be matched with a student and work together during the school day on the concepts that are slowing them down.”

Studies have shown that students who are reading successfully by 3rd grade have more success educationally and are better prepared for learning. Recent studies show that the 9th grade is a significant marker for students to grasp concepts in math in order to progress academically. Students learn basic math and algebra through eighth grade and by high school are expected to apply those concepts to higher math learning.

Volunteer tutors will be asked to commit to one hour per week. Tutors can go online and schedule their availability. Corporate employees can opt to job-share this opportunity to ensure consistency for students. The active online session will last 45 minutes. The remaining 15 minutes will be utilized by the instructor to document the student’s progress which will be shared with the student’s teacher. The teacher will be able to monitor the student’s performance as well as create the ability to communicate insights to the volunteer instructor. This system creates a team-approach which will support the student in advancing their skills.

A student profile will be available for the virtual instructor listing unique information about the student’s understanding of the classroom materials and what the student hopes to learn during the session. This program is in direct support of the learning plan developed by the classroom teacher. Volunteer instructors will be provided with an online version of the textbook currently used by students.
With continued budget cuts in state and federal funding to our local school districts, the need is greater than ever to support education through non-traditional avenues. Students in this era of technology respond well to a more modern approach to learning and a less traditional form of instruction.
 

“The hosting website will be enabled with a chat session for voice communication as well as a white board capability,” says Spencer. “There will be no visual interaction between student and instructor. E-mail addresses will not be identifiable. Volunteer instructors will be vetted through criminal and sexual abuse background checks in their state of residence and employment. Each instructor will be required to complete a proficiency test in basic algebra and any other subjects that may be added to our program and resources and training will be provided.”
 

To learn more about this program and become a tutor, please visit www.rsvpmc.org or contact Harriet Klein (610) 834-1040, ext. 22 or harrietk@rsvpmc.org.