Virtual Tutoring and Mentoring

Grow Your World (GYW) has transitioned its services from in-person to virtual in the midst of social distancing measures required by COVID-19. This virtual transition enables GYW to provide tutoring and mentoring services to middle school students, as well as tutoring to elementary schoolers, throughout the U.S.

Youths participating in GYW can choose any combination of weekly tutoring sessions in standard academic subjects, while also exploring non-traditional programs such as goal management skills, mindfulness and stress reduction skills, community service, arts and crafts, and identity caucuses. All programs are pay-what-you-can and design-your-own-schedule.

GYW has recruited twenty students from UNC Chapel Hill to serve as tutors and mentors for these youths in the areas of their expertise. Services are provided in both English and Spanish. Enrollment is now open.…Read More

Community service and professional development a winning combination

Picture a group of students storming a council meeting, except they aren’t there to protest—they’re there to run the meeting. One student, witnessing the needs of the elderly and handicapped in her community, creates a handyman organization. Another student, noticing a social gap between special needs students and others, creates a horticulture program and greenhouse garden curriculum to help forge new friendships.

Community outreach is important for students, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because service shows students how to apply their skills in the real world. Service diversifies our experience and makes us process information differently by introducing us to new world views, a vital skill when problem solving.

In the real world, professionals are expected to solve problems and get the job done. The Texas FFA (Future Farmers of America) takes a lot of pride in showing students how to apply STEM education to real-world concepts with an emphasis on giving back. Giving back also has the benefit of making students more prepared to enter the workforce. By being more aware of the world around them and working to improve communities, students gain skills that apply to every career field.…Read More

How our school is personalizing learning through co-teaching

Greenwood College School is a not-for-profit, independent, grade 7 to 12 school with about 450 students and about 60 teachers. We focus not only on academic achievement, but also on each student’s character development through connecting to their varied interests, both inside and outside the classroom. At Greenwood, we emphasize community service, extracurricular activities, outdoor education, the arts, and athletics. We want our students to venture out in the real world, experiencing life as much as possible.

Schools looking to personalize learning generally aim to increase interactions between the student and teacher. To achieve this goal, the most straightforward approach would be to have fewer students per teacher; the idea is that the teacher will have more time to devote to each individual student’s growth.

Did you know that it’s Digital Citizenship Week? Click here to learn more!…Read More

How software streamlined our community service program

Until last year, we were nearly drowning in the paperwork of an antiquated, cumbersome community service system. Then we discovered x2VOL

Here are ten tips for going paperless with a high school community service program.

Giving back to the community through volunteer service is a value we want to instill in our students at Morton Ranch High School in Texas. In the 2012-13 school year, more than 600 students gave more than 9,000 hours to local charities and organizations through our community service club, MAVS (Maverick Achieving through Volunteer Service).

Technology has made it much easier to manage such a large and diverse program. But it wasn’t always this way. Until last year, we were nearly drowning in the paperwork of an antiquated, cumbersome system.

We have more than 100 organizations connected to our school through mentoring, career days, job shadowing, and community service, so the transition wasn’t without its challenges. But when we discovered x2VOL, we jumped at the chance to ditch the binders and go paperless. Here’s the before-and-after picture of how our community service program has changed for the better.…Read More

Senior-student mentoring can be a win-win

Effectively pairing senior volunteers with students is one of the big win-win opportunities in virtually every community in the country, says U.S. News and World Report. There is great need in the schools, and it’s gotten more acute during the recession. Enter a growing stream of retired folks who’ve enjoyed stable and successful careers, are loaded with skills and experience, and are eager to give back to their local communities. But in talking with one of the country’s most successful senior tutoring and mentoring programs — Experience Corps — it’s clear that a lot of work needs to go into successful partnerships. Experience Corps doesn’t claim its approach is the only or even best way to engage seniors with kids. But it does claim that it works, and has the research to prove it. The Washington-based nonprofit has programs in 22 cities, with a total of about 2,000 senior volunteers and 20,000 students. The program works with younger students — kindergarten through third grade — and focuses its efforts on at-risk children in lower-income areas. In the cities with Experience Corps programs, that support doesn’t come cheap, averaging between $1,000 and $2,000 a year per student. More than half of the money flows right back out to participating volunteers, and finding the right volunteers, training them, and successfully matching them with students also requires staff and money. But the benefit of this approach is reflected in volunteers who stay committed to the program and their students, and go well beyond the minimums in providing support. Research has shown that a student needs to have at least 35 one-on-one sessions a year with a volunteer to make sustained progress in reading and verbal skills…

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New program combines technology, community service

Participants in the START initiative, the Service & Technology Academic Resource Team, share how their school's service-learning projects pair technology and community service.
Participants in the START program describe how their service-learning projects pair technology and community service.

Students at six schools from across the country are taking part in a pilot program that uses “service learning” as a way to revitalize their schools and communities while gaining valuable 21st-century skills.

The Service & Technology Academic Resource Team (START) program, launched by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and Microsoft Corp., aims to create a new kind of collaboration between students and teachers through technology-focused service learning.

CNCS and Microsoft chose six schools to participate in the program initially. The schools—Winston Churchill Middle School in California, Tupelo Middle School in Mississippi, Lower East Side Preparatory High School in New York, East Garner Magnet Middle School in North Carolina, Parkway West High School in Pennsylvania, and Forest Park High School in Virginia—will receive grants and serve as national test sites for how schools can integrate service learning and technology into the classroom.…Read More