When kids can’t read, they can’t succeed. Schools of Hope is an Early Grade Reading Initiative that helps children build the critical reading skills needed to succeed in school and life. Through Schools of Hope, we recruit, train and place community volunteers in the schools. The tutor works one-on-one with Kindergarten through third grade students during the school day to supplement the work they are doing in the classroom. Click here to listen to United Way’s Schools of Hope audio promotional spot.
If you live in Sonoma County, click “VOLUNTEER NOW” below to start the sign-up process. You may see below for a current list of summer orientation dates.
If you live in Sonoma County and have any questions before you apply, please contact Community Benefit Coordinator Emmanuel Moon at 707-528-4485 ext 103 or [email protected]. If you live in Mendocino County or Lake County and would like to volunteer, contact North Coast Opportunities Volunteer Network by calling (707) 462-1959. Alternatively, you can email Joan Reynolds at [email protected] to inquire about volunteering in Mendocino and Lake Counties.
Why is Schools of Hope needed?
In Sonoma County, less than half (43%) of third-graders currently read proficiently. In Mendocino County, less than a third (28%) read at proficiency. Furthermore, more than three-quarters of English Language Learners read below proficiency in Sonoma County (90% in Mendocino County).
Increasing third grade reading proficiency is a core goal of the initiative since it is a strong predictor of so many successes later in life. Children not proficient in reading by the end of third grade are four times less likely to graduate by age 19. Low early reading proficiency is also correlated to incarceration rates and is a predictor of adult income.
How does Schools of Hope aim to fix this problem?
We engage community volunteers to raise third grade reading proficiency to at least 90% by 2020. According to the United Way 2011 Education Overview, tutoring programs are most successful when students are seen one-on-one over 25 times in a school year. Schools of Hope students are seen twice a week for at least 12 weeks.
Is it successful?
Yes! An evaluation of Schools of Hope by Sonoma State University in 2014 found that first and second grade students who received tutoring showed reading proficiency growth between 28% and 50% higher than non-Schools of Hope students who started with similar scores. You can view the last three years of program evaluations by Sonoma State University at the following links:
- Sonoma State University’s Schools of Hope Evaluation Report, 2012-2013 School Year
- Sonoma State University’s Schools of Hope Evaluation Report, 2013-2014 School Year
- Sonoma State University’s Schools of Hope Evaluation Report, 2014-2015 School Year
Teachers, students, and volunteers alike love Schools of Hope! 83% of our tutors surveyed in 2013 reported that they would return to tutor again the following school year. 93% of classroom teachers expressed they were satisfied or very satisfied with the program.
Indeed! Flowery Elementary School is a SOH-participating English/Spanish dual immersion school in Sonoma. If you are fluent in Spanish and would like to tutor a first grade student in Spanish, please contact Emmanuel Moon at (707) 528-4485 x103 or [email protected].
Quick resources (click here for the full “resources” page):