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Math Corps Matter

Math Corps Matter

This story was published originally by ServeMinnesota.

When Daniel Winker’s test scores made it clear that the Burnsville fifth-grader was struggling with math last year, his mom, Talitha, didn’t waste a moment. “I was concerned that he’d fall farther behind and get further disconnected,” she said. “The pandemic meant that he’d miss the face-to-face assistance he was used to receiving.”

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Supporting Students from a Distance

photo - woman red reading corps jacket

With so much uncertainty surrounding the school year, Reading and Math Corps tutors are needed more than ever to support our students. Kim Nelson, a reading tutor at Sawtooth Mountain Elementary in Grand Marais, is an example of one tutor working to change the lives of the students she works with. “Kim adds so much as a tutor,” says principal Megan Myers. “We’re so thankful to have her!” 

Before becoming a tutor in October 2019, Kim’s own life was changed by cancer and autoimmune disease diagnosis a few years prior. After multiple battles overcoming what doctors said was a 38% chance to live, Kim returned to the professional world and eventually found out about the opportunity to tutor in Grand Marais through a Facebook ad.  

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Teaming up to help young learners thrive

Minnesota Reading Corps is excited to partner with three great organizations to provide 5,000 learning kits for families in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area. With over 200,000 children in the metro area living in households with incomes at or around poverty levels, the PNC Foundation, Kids in Need Foundation, Science Museum of Minnesota and Reading Corps aim to ensure that all children, regardless of their circumstances, have access to quality learning materials. 

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Celebrating Juneteenth

Celebrating Juneteenth

Juneteenth originated in Texas where on June 19, 1865, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation, more than 200,000 enslaved people in Texas learned they were no longer property of their enslavers.

It became tradition to celebrate freedom every year around this time. Today as we celebrate Juneteenth, we examine our country’s past and work for a more equitable future. 

Whether this is your first Juneteenth Celebration or a familiar tradition, we’ve curated resources to help you reflect, connect and celebrate.

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Honoring George Floyd

No words feel adequate to describe the pain and grief our community is experiencing. George Floyd should still be with us. We see too many people’s lives stolen by systemic violence, be it through police violence, excessive force, or the inequities experienced by Minnesota’s communities of color and especially by Minnesota’s Black community

Our community is grieving & we honor that pain. We believe in the power of community-led action; we see every day the positive change our members bring through their service. While we recognize that many are shocked and hurting, we realize that there are different positions of proximity to this tragedy. Whatever your experience please be sure to care for yourself and for those around you. If you are in need of mental health support you can access free crisis resources from NAMI.

For our AmeriCorps members, please note that you have access to the Member Assistance Program (MAP) which provides free telehealth counseling and referrals from a licensed professional. Visit the Member Resource Hub to learn more. We thank our members, our partners, & everyone committed to building a better, equitable, and just community. May we honor George Floyd’s memory by supporting each other to build a better future.

Signature

Sadie O’Connor, Managing Director

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Launch Your Career with AmeriCorps

Service with AmeriCorps is a great opportunity to gain valuable work experience and give back to your community. As an AmeriCorps member, you’ll increase your monthly income and build new skills while opening up new career pathways. AmeriCorps members receive a living stipend, which, unlike an hourly wage, does not reduce Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) or SNAP benefits. Click here to see how, financially, AmeriCorps can be a better option than hourly employment.

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Building Math Muscles

Building Math Muscles

Guest Writer: Therese Folsom, Math Enrichment Tutor at Westwood Elementary in Zimmerman, MN

As a Math Corps tutor, I spend my days at Westwood Elementary School in Zimmerman, Minnesota. After retiring from a human resources analyst position with Target, I found that I missed the stimulation of working with a team of people to solve problems. When I saw there was an opening for a math tutor at Westwood Elementary, it seemed like an excellent fit for me!

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Why I Know Early Literacy Matters

Why I Know Early Literacy Matters

By Lindsay Dolce, J.D.
Republished with permission from ServeMinnesota

Editor’s Note: Lindsay Dolce is the Chief Advancement Officer for Reading & Math Foundation, which advances the replication and expansion efforts for the proven Minnesota Reading Corps model and the Minnesota Math Corps model in new communities nationwide.

In 2002, when I started a new job as an attorney working on family law matters, I had no idea that nearly 20 years later I would leave the practice of law to pursue a career that allows me to support nearly 40,000 children each year with critical reading and math interventions.

Lindsay Dolce, J.D.

The path was not a straight line, in fact it was quite curvy but the common thread all along was that I wanted to be a voice for children who are not able to advocate for themselves. Over the last 20 years advocating for “littles” I have learned a few important facts. First, I have NEVER met a child who is not “ready to learn.” Children are born with an amazing sense of curiosity and adventure. They bring that with them when they show up at school for the first time, and what I know is that AmeriCorps members who choose to serve in school settings are able to turn that curiosity and sense of adventure into something exceptional … growth. The AmeriCorps members who choose to serve as a Reading Corps or Math Corps tutor often tell me that they weren’t quite sure what they were signing up for but it exceeded their expectations. Having a chance to support children in their learning journey and provide hope about their ability to achieve is the greatest gift a person can give a child.

I am honored to help lead an organization that invests in creating brighter futures for children by taking the science behind reading and math comprehension and using it to fuel the tools our tutors use every day in classrooms around the country with kids. For nearly 20 years I have observed a variety of nonprofits running different programs nationally. What truly sets Reading Corps and Math Corps apart is the single-minded focus on making sure what we do works and actually helps move the needle for kids age three to grade three in reading and fourth through eighth grade in math.

When I made the transition from being a family law attorney to working in the nonprofit world I heard the phrase “evidence-based interventions” a lot. To be honest, I didn’t have the foggiest idea why that was so important until I started to look at the outcomes of different programs. I don’t have a Ph.D., but I can see the difference between children scoring in the proficient versus not proficient categories. It befuddled me that so many kids were finishing kindergarten and third grade “not ready” to advance to the next grade. Especially when we know that if a child fails to learn how to read by third grade, that child is more likely to dropout of high school and face enormous challenges in life. ALL of this starts in the first years of a child’s life. Without a solid foundation, children are not able to make the critical transition from learning to read to reading to learn.

Advances in child development and educational psychology have converged on three compelling conclusions. Here is what science tells us:

  1. Early experiences are built into our bodies. Significant adversity can produce physiological disruptions or biological “memories” that undermine the development of the body’s stress response systems and affect the developing brain, cardiovascular system, immune system and metabolic regulatory controls. These physiological disruptions can persist far into adulthood.
  2. Nevertheless, the power of high-quality relationships and learning experiences can demonstrably improve children’s outcomes.
  3. In short – what happens during, and after, a child’s early experiences matters A LOT.

Here is what common sense tells us:

  1. Caring adults can provide young children with positive relationships, rich learning opportunities and safe environments.
  2. When those caring adults sign up for an AmeriCorps experience in Reading Corps and Math Corps, they are committed to helping children acquire two of the most fundamental learning — and life — skills that people need for success.
  3. The combination of caring adults who help children have high-quality learning experiences shouldimprove student outcomes.

It does! The evidence behind Reading and Math Corps proves it. Investments in evidence-based programs that demonstrate growth and strong outcomes for children are the closest thing to a golden ticket we can give our children.

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National Service Recognition Day: Celebrate Your Service!

 

Tuesday, April 2nd, is National Service Recognition Day. On this day, local leaders take to social media, organize special events and issue official proclamations celebrating and recognizing the incredible impact AmeriCorps and SeniorCorps members have on their community and the nation.

As AmeriCorps members, you tackle one of our country’s toughest challenges educating the leaders of tomorrow! As a show of appreciation for your service, local Minnesota leaders have planned special recognition events to celebrate your dedication to get things done for struggling students. All AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members and alum who served in the following cities are invited to attend.

 

Minneapolis

April 2nd: 1 – 3 p.m. – City Hall Rotunda, 350 S. Fifth Street

Mayor Jacob Frey and local leadership will be hosting a program to give thanks to those members and alum who made a lasting impact on the city of Minneapolis. Refreshments will be provided.

To RSVP, visit the event registration page.

 

St. Paul

April 2nd: 3 – 4:30 p.m. – Blackstack Brewing, 755 Prior Avenue North

Record your experience via Story Mobile and join Mayor Melvin Carter for special remarks during this happy hour event for members and alum who gave their time to serve the schools of St. Paul. Refreshments will be provided.

To learn more, see the event flyer and RSVP on Facebook.

 

Duluth

April 7th: 1 – 2 p.m. – Mayor’s Reception Room, City Hall, 411 West First Street

Celebrate both National Service Recognition Day and National Volunteer Week (April 7 – 13) with Mayor Emily Larson. Mayor Larson will honor those amazing contributions by members and alum who made a difference for the city of Duluth.

To register, email Cheryl Skafte at cskafte@duluthmn.gov or call 218-730-4334.

 

Did you serve outside these cities and want to find National Service Recognition Day events in your area? Email us at recruitment@servetogrow.org and we’ll get you more information!

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