In The News

A New Direction through Service

Lindsay Bass-Sessions had been working in retail for several years when she decided she was ready for a change of pace. Turns out service was exactly what she was looking for.

Originally from North Dakota, Lindsay moved to Minnesota with her husband in 2016. With over 15 years of retail experience under her belt, Lindsay had steadily worked her way up and held upper management roles at several stores over the years. Despite her success, she felt that something was missing. “I was started to feel the need to pivot out of the retail world,” Lindsay explains. “I felt this drive to give back to my community.”

When Lindsay happened across an online posting for Reading Corps, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. “You don’t have to come from a specific work or education background to serve with Reading Corps,” she says. “It doesn’t matter where you are at in your life, they give you what you need to know. You just need to have the desire to make a difference.”

While Lindsay still works part-time in retail, her 35 hours a week as a tutor have brought the change of pace she was hoping for. She enjoys building relationships with her students and likes how every day is different – you never know what a child will say or how much progress they will make. She says they keep her on her toes, but she loves every minute.

Through Reading Corps, Lindsay has also found a way to give back to her community. “As soon as I started working with the kids, I felt instant fulfillment,” Lindsay shares. “My students are making progress and becoming more confident. I know I am making a difference already.”

As for what’s up next, Lindsay is still figuring it out. “I would love to serve again,” she says. For the time being, Lindsay is happy with where she is at and wants others to join her. “If you are considering becoming a tutor, it is worth the leap,” Lindsay insists. “If you are looking for a change in your life, stop hesitating – it is so worth it.”

If you want to learn more about Lindsay’s path to service, check out her recent feature in the Quad Community Press.

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A Gap Year of Service

Alyssa Tulloch wasn’t quite ready to head to college after graduating from Creative Arts Secondary School last fall. Instead, she decided to take a gap year. Lucky for us, she has chosen to spend that time with Minnesota Math Corps.

“My teacher told me about this opportunity,” Alyssa says. “He knew I love math and love working with kids.”

For Alyssa, it seems like the perfect fit. She can gain experience and save money for college while figuring out what she wants to do next. But for now, Alyssa is happily working with students at the very school she graduated from.

“I just love this school,” Alyssa shares. “It is truly an amazing community that gives students so many opportunities to be themselves. It’s great to be able to be here now, helping others.”

One of her favorite parts of service? The appreciation she receives.

“I think a lot of teachers appreciate me and what I do,” Alyssa explains. “When they don’t have enough time or resources, I can be the person who individually gives students extra support.”

Alyssa strives to make all of her students feel comfortable and confident while learning. She works hard to be seen as an authority figure, but also someone who students can relate to and trust. She says the trust and relationships she builds help her be a better tutor.  “Not every student learns the same way,” she says. “I love being able to cater to their needs and make learning more accessible.”

At the end of the day, the most important thing to Alyssa is helping students succeed. “You use basic math everywhere,” she states. “It’s important that these students are confident in their math skills so they can excel in school and succeed in life.”

If you want to learn more about Alyssa’s story, check out her recent feature on KARE 11’s Breaking the News.

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Kicking Off a Year of Service!

This week, Reading Corps and Math Corps members across the state kicked off their year of service! While getting to know each other and more about the year ahead, they pledged to get things done in their communities. Service Kick-offs were held in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, Willmar, Rochester, Detroit Lakes, Grand Rapids, Mankato, Mounds View and Sartell. A very special AmeriCorps thank you to Representative Jennifer Shultz (Duluth) and Senator Carla Nelson (Rochester) who attended Kick-Offs in their cities and led the AmeriCorps pledge.

With so many passionate people beginning their service, there has been great coverage from the media.
(Click the image or buttons below to check out the buzz.)

Next week, tutors from across Minnesota will gather at the Minneapolis Convention Center to complete training in evidence based interventions, progress monitoring, data collection, benchmarking and more. Stay tuned for more updates!

If you or someone you know would like to give their time as a tutor this school year there are still opportunities to begin in September, October and January! Tutors can choose to serve 18, 25, 35 or 40 hours a week. While they serve, members receive great perks like a stipend every two weeks and up to $4,200 for college tuition or loans. Health insurance is available at no cost to members serving full-time (35+ hours a week) and childcare assistance is available to eligible families. To learn more, visit readingandmath.net.

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Reading Corps and Math Corps in the News

It’s always fun to be featured on KARE 11! Program manager Lizzie Morris and tutor Youa Xiong were recently highlighted in a segment that called for more reading and math tutors throughout the state. Minnesota Reading Corps and Math Corps are currently looking for about 500 more tutors in the Twin Cities metro and another 500 tutors in greater Minnesota for the 2019-20 school year. Be sure to watch the story and check out some behind-the-scenes photos below!

 

Lizzie Morris, Program Manager


Youa Xiong, Literacy tutor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to KARE 11 for helping us spread the word that Minnesota kids need reading and math tutors. If you or someone you know could give your time to help students in need, visit readingandmath.net. #BeMoreMN

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New Study Confirms Minnesota Reading Corps is Making a Powerful Impact on Literacy Skills of Students and Closing the Achievement Gap for At‐Risk Students

Reading Corps tutor working with young student

Students’ literacy skills grew the equivalent of a half to almost a full year of extra school.

Research replicates and extends statistically significant findings from a 2014 study, shows an even larger effect size, and demonstrates an even stronger impact with at‐risk students.

Hundreds of reading and math tutors still needed throughout Minnesota.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MINNEAPOLIS – (September 13, 2018) ‐‐ A new third‐party evaluation of Minnesota Reading Corps, the nation’s largest AmeriCorps tutoring program, has confirmed that the program makes a significant impact on the literacy skills of students. In fact, according to the independent study conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago, the additional growth demonstrated by students being tutored equates to an extra 50 to 90 percent of a year of schooling – or the equivalent of a half year to almost a full year of extra school.

The study, which replicated and extended the findings of a study conducted in 2014, showed Reading Corps not only continued to deliver an impact, it increased its impact ‐‐ producing an even larger effect size. Such findings are rare in educational research, and are extremely rare when replicated.

Equally meaningful, the study found that, while the impact of Reading Corps is impressive for all participating students, it is even more significant for English Language Learners (ELL) and children from traditionally underprivileged groups, such as non‐White racial groups.

According to Audrey Suker, CEO of ServeMinnesota, the state’s administrator for AmeriCorps programs, these results are statistically significant and extremely rare for educational research. “Replication studies are rare but important, because students change, policies change, and schools take on new initiatives. Reading Corps not only continues to achieve outstanding results for our students, this study shows its impact is even greater. And, given the fact that this AmeriCorps program serves more than 600 schools and upwards of 30,000 students each year, this clearly demonstrates that Reading Corps is making significant headway in closing the achievement gap.”

Among the key findings:

Kindergarten Students

  • Kindergarten students who received Minnesota Reading Corps tutoring achieved significantly higher letter sound fluency scores by the end of the first semester (Winter 2018) than Kindergarten control students who did not receive the program.
  • On average, program students correctly identified an average of 10.9 more letter sounds in one minute than control group students.
  • Kindergarten students who received Reading Corps tutoring demonstrated additional growth equaling an extra 50 to 90 percent of a year of schooling.

First Grade Students

  • First grade students who received Minnesota Reading Corps tutoring achieved significantly higher word‐reading scores by the end of the first semester (Winter 2018) than students who did not receive the program.
  • Impacts of first grade Reading Corps transferred to the broader reading skill of oral reading fluency, an essential foundational literacy skill.

Second and Third Grade Students

  • Minnesota Reading Corps second and third grade students attained significantly higher oral reading fluency scores by the Spring benchmark than control group students.

At Risk Students

  • A statistically significant impact of Reading Corps was found for second and third grade students regardless of minority status (i.e., Black), gender, or ELL status.
  • Second and third grade students in each of these groups significantly outperformed control students on oral reading fluency scores, and grew faster than the typical Reading Corps student, reflecting a closure of the achievement gap.
  • Together, the findings show that the Minnesota Reading Corps program can have a substantial and positive impact on at‐risk students who are often underserved because they fall between students performing at grade level and special education referrals, and typically have fewer resources available to them.

Overall

  • Based on findings from two highly rigorous, impartial, and complementary studies, the Minnesota Reading Corps K‐3 program conclusively improves K‐3 students’ early reading skills.

NORC’s simultaneous evaluations of Florida Reading Corps and Wisconsin Reading Corps found the program can be reliably replicated with the same impact on student growth.

Reading Corps has the power to dramatically improve student outcomes, and schools across the state have partnered to bring Reading Corps to their students. More tutors are needed for the 2018‐19 school year throughout the state of Minnesota. Anyone interested is encouraged to go to readingandmath.net.

About Minnesota Reading Corps:
One in three Minnesota third graders is not reading at grade level. Minnesota Reading Corps, a statewide program and strategic initiative of ServeMinnesota, provides a solution. The program places trained AmeriCorps tutors in schools and preschools, where they deliver proven literacy strategies to help children get ready for Kindergarten and on track to become successful readers by the end of third grade. Two independent and highly rigorous studies conducted by the University of Chicago confirm Reading Corps to be one of the most effective literacy programs nationwide. It is replicated in 12 states and the District of Columbia. For more information, please visit www.minnesotareadingcorps.org.

About NORC:
NORC at the University of Chicago delivers objective data and meaningful analysis to help decision‐ makers and leading organizations make informed choices and identify new opportunities. Since 1941, NORC has applied sophisticated methods and tools, innovative and cost‐effective solutions, and the highest standards of scientific integrity and quality to conduct and advance research on critical issues. Headquartered in downtown Chicago, NORC works in over 40 countries around the world, with additional offices on the University of Chicago campus, the DC metro area, Atlanta, Boston, and San Francisco. For more information, visit www.norc.org.

Media Contact:
Lisa Winkler
lisa@serveminnesota.org
612.333.7749

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