Schools of Hope History

Schools of Hope is a proven model focused on achieving measurable gains in third-grade reading proficiency. Started in Dane County in 1995, the program effectively reduced the racial achievement gap from 21 percent to 2 percent within ten years. With the success in Dane County, the Schools of Hope model spread across the country and a number of United Ways have partnered with their local school districts and community partners to address similar concerns about third grade reading proficiency rates in their own regions.

Encouraged by the positive results seen in other communities, United Way of Racine County volunteers and staff worked to implement Schools of Hope in Racine. The planning stage included community meetings, research about the importance of reading proficiency and other Schools of Hope programs across the country, the development of a program logic model, and the establishment of an outcomes measurement framework that will aid in the evaluation of the program. 

The following criteria were central to the strategic design of Schools of Hope Racine:

  • To make best use of community resources, both staff and volunteer, ensuring successful implementation of the SOH model
  • To engage all entities (schools, United Way, nonprofits, business, faith-based organizations, and community members) in planning and working collaboratively to increase school achievement
  • To function in a manner that is truly responsive to needs and interests of young children
  • To model accountability and use data effectively
  • To become a flagship model of working collaboration between schools and community
  • To communicate clearly to the entire community that children and their educational success is a priority and can be achieved

Schools of Hope tutoring began in October 2012. Together with teachers and principals, Olympia Brown Elementary and Wadewitz Elementary were selected as the program's pilot schools. During the fall 2012 semester, 80 tutors worked with 146 students at the two schools. Schools of Hope expanded to Fratt and North Park Elementary schools for the spring 2013 semester. At the four schools, 168 tutors volunteered in 38 classrooms to help 257 students. During the 2012-13 school year, Schools of Hope tutors provided 1,589 hours of one-on-one reading tutoring. Read more about the successes of the pilot year of Schools of Hope in the 2012-13 report!

Schools of Hope expanded to include Giese, Janes, Roosevelt and S.C. Johnson elementary schools during the 2013-14 school year. Two hundred and thirty one volunteer tutors worked with 297 students at the eight schools. The tutors provided over 3,370 hours of one-on-one reading support. Read about the successes of Schools of Hope's second year in the 2013-14 report!

During the 2014-15 school year, 249 students received tutoring from 292 volunteers. Over 10,000 tutoring sessions were provided to students in first, second and third grade at Fratt, Giese, Janes, North Park, Olympia Brown, Roosevelt, S.C. Johnson and Wadewitz elementary schools. Read about Schools of Hope's impact in the 2014-15 report!