In The Community

Online tutoring from Reading Corps and Math Corps

We’re excited to share we’ve partnered with ServeMinnesota to launch a new initiative to help more kids build their skills and confidence! Scholar Squad offers one-on-one, online tutoring for Minnesota students in PreK-8th grade. 

COVID-19 has made everything difficult this year, especially learning. That’s why we are bringing the proven Reading Corps and Math Corps programs directly to families at no cost to them. Scholar Squad is leveraging the power of our proven AmeriCorps programs to help reach kids outside of the classroom.  

“Students are experiencing significant challenges,” explains Reading Corps and Math Corps Managing Director Sadie O’Connor. “We knew we had to innovate and find a way to support kids who need extra support.”

Families can request a consult with a literacy or math coach, who will conduct a short screening. If the screening shows their kids could use extra help, we’ll match them up with a tutor for extra practice and support.

We’re Already Hearing Great Things

Although tutors have only recently started working with families, we’re already hearing great things. “Families are incredibly relieved to have this resource,” says Alison Zellmer, Associate Director of Innovation and Strategic Partnerships. “Many have been looking for extra support and are excited that we can provide a tutor to help.” While navigating complex schedules and the challenges of COVID-19, Scholar Squad families are prioritizing tutoring.

Tutors deliver tutoring through Zoom, and even from a distance, are building strong relationships. Jenny’s daughter receives tutoring five days a week from Scholar Squad and has already noticed the impact. “Kyra loves working with her Scholar Squad tutor,” Jenny says. “She is excited every day when she gets home from school to get started.”

Do you know a family who could use some help from Scholar Squad? Please share this news and ask them to visit ScholarSquad.org to learn more and request help.

Suzanne PagelOnline tutoring from Reading Corps and Math Corps
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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

NewsHonoring George Floyd
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Summer Service Sites Announced Across Minnesota

Summer Service Sites Announced Across Minnesota

Have you heard about the opportunity to serve this summer helping address urgent community needs related to COVID-19? As part of the AmeriCorps Emergency Response Initiative, there are amazing opportunities throughout the state. In fact, AmeriCorps Emergency Response Initiative members will provide essential community support at more than 65 locations this summer!

Suzanne PagelSummer Service Sites Announced Across Minnesota
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Stories of Service During COVID-19

Stories of Service During COVID-19

When Minnesota schools closed in response to the COVID-19 crisis, our members stepped up. Over the last few weeks, reading and math tutors have pivoted, shifting their service from tutoring in schools to supporting the community and students in new ways. We’ve collected some inspiring stories of service – take a look!

Suzanne PagelStories of Service During COVID-19
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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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NewsNational Service Recognition Day: Celebrate Your Service!
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Why We’re Participating in MLK Day of Service

 

 

MLK Day of Service, a federal holiday created to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy of service, not only brings whole communities together, but also gives AmeriCorps members and alumni a unique opportunity to come together in the name of helping others.

For Dr. King, giving back meant strengthening the bonds of community and working toward something greater than ourselves. In honor of Dr. King’s vision, we asked some of the AmeriCorps and PeaceCorps alumni who now work to support Reading Corps and Math Corps what MLK Day of Service means to them. Their answers were inspiring:

 

Ryan Kjesbo-Johnson
“Serving others is a chance to open our hearts to the struggles of those around us. Some of the most transforming moments of my life have happened while serving others—whether it was teaching someone how to apply for
a job each day in AmeriCorps, to filling bags of food at feed my starving children with my kids, to teaching reproductive health skills in Uganda to young men or helping push strangers’ cars out of the snow. Serving others
opens our hearts, and creates a tapestry of understanding and connection that does not happen if we merely pass by each other. This tapestry of understanding and connection defines the beloved community that Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke about and lived out.

Service on this day honors a man, and a movement, that was driven on the backs of service to others. From driving neighbors to work during the Montgomery bus boycott, to helping comfort bodies broken by the batons on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, to church members hosting visitors of the movement in their homes, the Civil Rights movement was defined by sacrifice and service to others. On this day take time to honor the legacy of Dr. King by serving your neighbors, and let that spark of service create a wildfire of service throughout the year.”

 
 

Alison Zellmer
“When I reflect on the MLK Day of Service and why it is so important, this quote from Martin Luther King Jr. always comes to mind, ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness: Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: Only love can do that.’ I think one of the greatest ways you can share love to your community, your school, your neighbors, to anyone is through service. We honor Martin Luther King Jr. on this day by doing just that.”

Jenny Rangel
“I remember listening to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech when I was younger. His words and actions left a huge impression on me and opened my eyes up to the inequality in the world. He challenged the status quo and believed that everyone can be great and make an impact no matter how small. MLK Day of Service is a time to reflect on Dr. King’s legacy and to give back to the community. I am participating to honor Dr. King’s legacy and do my part to make this world a better place.”

Megan Peterson
“I consider myself lucky to have grown up in a family that valued service to one’s community, and it has led me to always try to give back. I have had the opportunity to serve at soup kitchens, help build playgrounds, volunteer at the local food shelf and lead excited parents through Toys for Tots gift selection. Perhaps most impactful for me, I have served as a Reading Corps tutor helping to improve confidence and skills in children. The hugs, smiles and genuine happiness to see me every day that I experienced from these students will live with me forever. MLK Day of Service is an opportunity for me to be intentional about giving back and serving my community in new ways. I encourage you to join me in helping to make the world a better place this MLK Day.”

 

Andrew Mueller
“A day of service to me means showing as a community that we both celebrate the legacy of Dr. King and we recognize that there is a lot of work left to do to create a just and equitable society for everyone. I participate in service because ground level work is as important as systems change work and directly serving the community expands my perspective and often the best relationships are formed when serving others.”

 

Chris Erickson
“For me, MLK Day of Service is a chance to do something for others in a way that’s outside my day-to-day tutoring role. It’s a chance to find a service program, organization or opportunity that speaks to my passions, and give back to others. This was also a great way for me to connect with other AmeriCorps members, and people from the community at large who had similar interests and personal service passions. Now, years later I’m so grateful for my experiences in AmeriCorps as a Reading Corps member, and still find joy from taking part in meaningful service projects on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.”

 

 

If you’re interested in joining us for an MLK Day of Service project, check out our last blog post to view the full list of opportunities and learn more about getting involved.





NewsWhy We’re Participating in MLK Day of Service
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In Honor of Helping Others: MLK Day of Service

 

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said “Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.” No matter who you are or where you’re from, Dr. King believed that everyone had the ability to make a difference by helping others. In honor of his legacy and passion for serving others, MLK Day of Service is intended to empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge barriers, create solutions to social problems and move us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a “Beloved Community.”

As AmeriCorps members and alumni, you’ve committed your time to service. We hope you’ll join other Reading Corps and Math Corps members, alumni and staff Monday, January 21, 2019 for this truly special day of service in order to better our communities and the lives of those around us.

Below is a list of service activities Minnesota Math Corps and Minnesota Reading Corps will be participating in. If you’re interested in giving back during MLK Day of Service, please reach out to amy.kasch-vanek@servetogrow.org for more information.

Opportunities to serve:

8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast w/ reflection and discussion – SCSU – St. Cloud

8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. — Volunteer at the MLK march – Rochester Mayo Civic Center – Rochester

8:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast w/ reflection and discussion – LSS Centrum – Minneapolis

8:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast w/ reflection and discussion – Brooklyn Park Community Center – Brooklyn Park

8:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. — Volunteer at the MLK march – Washington Rec Center – Duluth

10:00 a.m. – noon — Painting inspirational MLK quotes – Miltona Community Center – Miltona

12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. — Packaging food with Second Harvest Heartland – Brooklyn Park

12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. — Holiday party for those in Memory Care – Rakhma Homes – Minneapolis

1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. — Painting inspirational MLK quotes – Miltona Community Center – Miltona

1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. — Birdfeeder Workshop – Home Depot – St. Cloud

*Limited registration

1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. — Volunteer opportunities at Minnesota State University, Mankato – Mankato

*Includes Dr. Suess Birthday/Read Across America, letters to the troops, cards for children at Children’s hospital

 

Not located near one of these activities or would like another way to participate? Tutors can also use MLK Day of Service as a day of reflection on Dr. King’s legacy and their own service experiences by completing activities in the web-based supplemental training bank.

Or find even more events happening around Minnesota here or through the InterCorps Council of Minnesota here.*

 

*Note: Current tutors – Be sure to check in with your Program Manager for hours guidance and to fill out an SOR before participating in outside service opportunities.

NewsIn Honor of Helping Others: MLK Day of Service
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Minneapolis School Breaks “High Priority” Barrier: Students Make Great Gains with Reading Corps Pilot Program

 

Current 2018-19 Scholar Coaches and staff

 

Exceptional things are happening at Nellie Stone Johnson Community School (NSJ) in North Minneapolis. Determined to help their learners succeed, NSJ has developed a multi-faceted approach to raising student achievement, with great success. Once deemed a “High Priority” school, a category which identifies the lowest-performing schools in the state, NSJ has now been removed from that list!

With the extraordinary commitment of their community partners and stakeholders (including Minnesota Reading Corps) NSJ has made incredible gains, including doubling 3rd grade reading proficiency in the span of three years. It was just a few short years ago that we began speaking with NSJ about developing a new kind of model to help better meet the needs of their students: the Total Learning Classroom (TLC) program. Now in its 4th year, the TLC program has grown to reach eight schools in Minneapolis, St. Paul and St. Cloud.

The TLC program is unique in that our tutors—called Scholar Coaches—are embedded in K-3 classrooms and partner closely with the teacher to support classroom instruction and deliver 1:1 and small group reading interventions to students. “The 1:1 connection between the Scholar Coach and the classroom teacher enables daily conversations to happen about how students are doing,” NSJ principal Amy Luehmann said. “It makes a big difference.”

This partnership also gives the Scholar Coach the opportunity to integrate the teacher’s lessons into their tutoring sessions, which gives students an added learning boost. “The TLC model really was beneficial in that I was able to see what was happening in the classroom and connect that to the tutoring interventions,” Colleen Denice-Rossiter, a third-year Scholar Coach at NSJ, said. “I benefited so much from watching [the students’] progress and also just watching their whole attitude change.”

So far this year, over 400 students have been served by Scholar Coaches and 80% of students with six or more weeks of tutoring are achieving at or above the rate necessary to reach grade level targets by the spring. With the continued success of students at NSJ, we hope to partner with more Minnesota schools so that students across the state can achieve such incredible results!

The TLC program will be recruiting Scholar Coaches for the 2019-20 school year starting in January. To learn more about the program or how you can get involved, contact Andrew Mueller.

NewsMinneapolis School Breaks “High Priority” Barrier: Students Make Great Gains with Reading Corps Pilot Program
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