Schools of Hope Frequently Asked Questions

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General information
What is Schools of Hope?

Schools of Hope is a United Way-led initiative in partnership with Racine Unified School District, local businesses and community members that provides young children with tutors on a regular basis to increase reading achievement in the early grades.

Where is Schools of Hope?

During the 2022-23 school year, Schools of Hope volunteers will be active in four Racine Unified elementary schools (Knapp, Julian Thomas, Mitchell and Wadewitz). We will serve students in first through third grade.

How did you select these schools?

These schools were selected based on the strength of our partnership and the potential for Schools of Hope to be the most effective.

Who are the students?

Schools of Hope students are recommended by their classroom teachers and selected by the school reading coach. Schools of Hope students are those who are poised to improve their reading skills with the extra support and encouragement that Schools of Hope tutors provide. Student attendance, MAP/reading level, disposition and the number of other interventions the student receives are also considered. Students are evaluated at semester to determine if they participate for a second semester or graduate out of the program.

Who are the tutors?

Schools of Hope volunteers come from all walks of life. SOH volunteers are adults who are willing to give of their time and learn some simple strategies to help students to become confident, capable readers.

Are the volunteers vetted?

Absolutely. All Schools of Hope volunteers complete a background check through Sterling Volunteers before volunteering in the classroom. Returning tutors are re-screened at the beginning of each school year.

Why Schools of Hope?

When kids can read, they succeed. Schools of Hope is a model that helps students become more confident, capable readers.

Information for parents
My child needs a tutor; can you provide one?

Schools of Hope provides services to students who attend a participating school and are recommended by their classroom teacher, based on established selection criteria. If you feel your child needs a tutor, please contact their school to learn about what services are available.

Will my child participate in Schools of Hope?

It depends on a number of factors. First and foremost, Schools of Hope students must meet the selection criteria (see “Who are the students?”). The number of participating volunteers and their availability also impact the number of students who receive tutors.

How will I know if my child is selected for Schools of Hope?

Your child’s teacher will send home a welcome letter if they are recommended for Schools of Hope.

My child doesn't meet the selection criteria for Schools of Hope. How does the program benefit me and my child?

Schools of Hope volunteers provide one-on-one assistance to specific students, allowing teachers to give the other children in the classroom more attention. We all benefit when our classrooms, and our community, have children who can read proficiently.

Become a Schools of Hope tutor
How do I sign up?

We are not currently accepting applications. Please submit your information here.

Is there a deadline to volunteer?

Yes. The 2023-24 school year application period is August 1, 2023 through September 24, 2023.

What is the time commitment?

Schools of Hope volunteers are asked to commit to a minimum of 30 minutes per week, during the school day, October through May.

I have a flexible schedule. Can I volunteer for more than one session?

That would be great. On the tutor application, you will be able to indicate your desire to volunteer for multiple sessions and your scheduling preferences. We will do our best to accommodate your requests.

How many students will I tutor?

During your 30 minute time commitment, you will tutor one student for 25 minutes. The tutoring sessions are one-on-one. You may commit to an additional 30 minute sessions if you want to work with additional students.

When does tutoring take place?

Tutoring takes place during the school day, Monday through Friday. The exact time of day depends on the student’s availability and the tutor’s availability.

Can I pick my school? Can I pick my tutoring time?

Yes. Once the schools have set their schedules, you will receive a list of options for days and times that tutoring is being held. At that time you will be able to chose what works best for your schedule. Days and times are determined by school and grade intervention blocks. Your flexibility in serving students when they are available is appreciated.

I’ve never tutored before, and I’m not a teacher. Can I still be a tutor?

Definitely. We provide all of the training and materials that you need to be successful. All tutors will be required to attend a two hour training which will include visiting the school that you are assigned to.

I'm a snow bird/I'll be out of town for part of the school year. Can I still volunteer?

Yes, you can. Providing as much advance notice as possible about planned vacations and absences is appreciated as we make every effort to provide substitute tutors to fill in when a regular tutor is absent. In order to have the greatest impact on student growth, we need to provide consistent tutoring each week. Alternatively, you may choose to become a substitute tutor and fill in for tutors who need to miss an occasional session. Substitute tutors are critical to the program's success.

I'm a high school/college student. Can I be a tutor?

Yes, if you can commit to an entire school year and have reliable transportation. Keep in mind that all Schools of Hope tutoring takes place during the school day. If you are a high school student with a full day of classes, it's unlikely that your dismissal time will be early enough to allow you to tutor.

I can’t make a standing weekly commitment. Is there a way I can still be a volunteer?

Yes. You can be a substitute tutor and fill in for volunteers who are experiencing an extended illness or vacation.

What happens after I submit my application?

After you submit your application, you will be contacted by Lori Riffer at United Way of Racine County via email. You will need to complete a background check, orientation and training before tutoring begins in October. 

When is the training? How long is it? Where is it?

New and returning tutors are expected to attend both an orientation and training session. Orientations are held virtually at the end of September. Orientations will include instructions and training from UWRC on program structure and tutor expectations.

Tutor training sessions are scheduled for the weeks of October 2 and 9. Each school will have a seperate day and time scheduled for their volunteers. Volunteers are able to attend the school training that best fits their schedule. Training will take place at the participating SOH schools. The trainings are held from 5:30-7pm and will include training from RUSD, a tour of the school and badge photos. Everyone must bring a driver's license or state-issued photo ID to training.


I work for RUSD/I'm an approved school volunteer. Do I need a background check?

All Schools of Hope volunteers must be WINGS approved. Your status will be confirmed with RUSD before you are able to volunteer in the classroom. 

Information for returning tutors
I was a tutor last year. Do I have to complete the application again?

Yes. It is the easiest way for us to update our records and be sure that we don't miss anyone who wants to be a tutor.

Can I work with the same students as last year?

Students are individually selected each year and are not guaranteed to participate in subsequent periods. Volunteers will be assigned to students as needed to provide the greatest impact.

Do I have to attend training again this year?

Yes. Just as our students are always learning and growing, Schools of Hope is continuously improving. Attending tutor orientation and training will sharpen your skills and begin the school year ready to help students succeed. All tutors are required to attend a new or returning tutor orientation and a 90 minute training session that takes place at the school. Tutor training will take place at the participating SOH schools. Training is tentatively planned for the weeks of October 2 and October 9.

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