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, Burlington Area 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 2019-20 school year, Schools of Hope volunteers will be active in five Racine Unified elementary schools (Giese, Julian Thomas, Knapp, Olympia Brown and Wadewitz) and one Burlington Area School District elementary school (Waller). We will serve students in first and second grade at Waller. At the five Racine Unified schools, first- through third-grade students will be served.

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?

chools of Hope students are recommended by their classroom teachers. 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, previous participation, disposition and the number of other interventions the student receives are also considered. An effort is made to keep students in the program from year to year and to keep volunteers paired with the same students for multiple years.

Who are the tutors?

Schools of Hope volunteers come from all walks of life. During the 2018-19 school year, 228 volunteers participated in Schools of Hope. Fifty one percent of those volunteers were working adults who represented 44 local employers.

Are the volunteers vetted?

Absolutely. All Schools of Hope volunteers must pass a background check prior to receiving a tutoring assignment. The background check is conducted by the Racine County Sheriff’s Department. There is no cost to the volunteers for the background check. Returning tutors are re-screened at the beginning of each school year.

Why Schools of Hope?

When can kids 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 2019-20 application is closed. The 2020-21 application will open in late spring 2020.

What is the time commitment?

Schools of Hope volunteers are asked to commit to one hour 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. Please note that it is difficult to schedule a tutor with more than two concurrent students due to student schedules. It is generally easier to schedule a volunteer to tutor on more than one day per week than it is more than one session per day.

How many students will I tutor?

During your one-hour-per-week time commitment, you will tutor two students for 25 minutes each. The tutoring sessions are one-on-one.

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. When you complete the application, you can indicate your preferred school, day and time. We make every attempt to accommodate volunteer preferences. 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. New tutors are required to attend a two-hour training. Returning tutors are required to attend a one-hour refresher course.

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 commit to an hour per week. Is there a way I can still be a volunteer?

Yes. You can partner with a friend or colleague to form a tutor team and share the responsibility of a tutoring assignment. You can also be a substitute tutor and fill in for volunteers who are experiencing an extended illness or vacation.

What is a tutor team?

A tutor team is a partnership formed by two to three friends or colleagues to share a tutoring assignment. Members of a tutor team rotate who is responsible for tutoring each week. Volunteers who wish to be part of a tutor team are responsible for identifying team members and ensuring that each member's preferences are in alignment on each individual's application.

Will you form a tutor team for me?

Communication is key to a successful tutor team, so we ask that volunteers form their own tutor teams. Friends, neighbors and colleagues make great team members.

What happens after I submit my application?

After you submit your application, information will be submitted to the Racine County Sheriff's Department for your background check. The background checks will be processed as quickly as possible, but they generally take 10-14 business days. Volunteers who pass the background check will not be notified. Please attend the training session you register for unless you are contacted by United Way staff. You will have the opportunity to sign up for tutor training while completing your application. After you’ve completed training, you will receive your tutoring assignment and can start tutoring.

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

Schools of Hope tutor training sessions will be offered Sept. 12-27. A variety of days and times are available to choose from. New tutor training is two hours and takes place in Racine at United Way of Racine County, 2000 Domanik Drive, or in Burlington at the Acelero Center on Wainwright Avenue, Classroom V16. Returning tutor refresh courses will be one hour and will also take place at our United Way of Racine offices. Everyone must bring a driver's license or state-issued photo ID to training.

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

Yes. All Schools of Hope volunteers must complete the application and pass a background check. Maintaining the same process for all volunteers allows us to keep uniform records.

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?

Possibly. If you worked with a first or second grader last year who is continuing in the program this year, we'll do our best to schedule you with them again this year. Keep in mind that student availability tends to change each year, so your flexibility is appreciated.

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 a tutor refresh will sharpen your skills and begin the school year ready to help students succeed. Returning tutors are required to attend a refresher course. Returning tutor training will take place at United Way of Racine County, 2000 Domanik Drive, Racine.

Do I have to have an ID badge photo taken again?

Probably not. Every effort will be made to reuse IDs from last year. We appreciate your understanding if we do need to ask for a new photo.

Ask a question!

If you've read our FAQ and still have a question, please submit it below. We will respond to you promptly.