Through third grade, children learn to read. From the fourth grade on, they read to learn. Research shows third-grade reading proficiency is a powerful predictor of later academic achievement. Schools of Hope Racine, a United Way-led initiative in partnership with Racine Unified School District, local businesses, and community members, provides young children with tutors on a regular basis to increase reading achievement in the early grades.
At the end of June, Higher Expectations joined United Way of Racine County (UWRC) and Racine Unified School District (RUSD) to present on the impact of the Schools of Hope Tutoring program. Since it's inception in 2012, Schools of Hope has provided more than 1,100 elementary schools students with one-on-one reading support from volunteer tutors. These tutors use research-based strategies and techniques to support a student's reading growth throughout each school year.
This school year, Higher Expectations worked closely with UWRC to implement quick cycle continuous improvement processes to regularly track program performance and make course corrections throughout the year. For the 105 students at five schools that participated in Schools of Hope this school year, this program was able to support their learning and bolster their reading growth. Higher Expectations helped UWRC evaluate this impact through tutor and teacher surveys, student interviews, and student assessments including MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) and reading levels.
- Participating students exceeded their projected reading growth scores on the MAP assessment (achieving 103% of their projected reading growth from Fall to Spring).
- In fact, in some schools and grades, Schools of Hope students' MAP reading growth was significantly higher than their peers.
- Volunteers provided students with more than 24 hours of tutoring time this school year, which represents 11 additional hours (82% more time) compared to last year.
- In a majority (54%) of the classrooms who assessed reading levels in Fall and Spring, Schools of Hope participants had a higher average reading growth than other students in the same class.
- In surveys, 86% of tutors and 80% of teachers indicated that Schools of Hope tutoring contributed to an improvement in the reading ability of their students.
We are excited to see the impact that this work is having on Racine County's students and we know there is still critical work to be done to improve outcomes for students in the coming years. We continue to work with our partners to use data to shine a spotlight on what works and to create continuous improvement program plans.