Phoenix organization sees increased student achievement with in-classroom volunteers

Volunteer Al Nelson meets with fourth grade students at Longview Elementary. (submitted photo)

Trained classroom volunteers from Your Experience Counts are making a significant impact on students’ learning according to end-of-the-year survey data from principals and teachers across the Valley.

“Principals, teachers and the students themselves have created very successful relationships with our volunteers,” YEC Program Director Mike Beardslee said in a press release. “The data shows they are acting as partners with their mentor-teachers in creating a positive learning environment.”

In 2016-17, YEC had nearly 100 volunteers, who were mostly retired from careers in business, education and military, serving in 23 Valley schools. The volunteers are matched with teachers in elementary schools around the city, the press release stated.

“We need at least 30 more volunteers this year based on requests we have from teachers,” Mr. Beardslee said in the release. “There is still time to train and place new volunteers.”

Volunteers are matched with teachers in schools in low-income communities to provide individual and small group support for students in third-sixth grade in reading, math and other subject areas. Volunteers work one or two days a week in the classroom, the press release noted.

According to a survey completed by 85 teachers, their experience with the YEC volunteers include:

  • 88 percent improved or significantly improved students’ motivation to learn;
  • 86 percent improved or significantly improved students’ academic achievement;
  • 94 percent helped maintain or contributed significantly to a positive classroom environment.

Additionally, teachers reported that students “were eager to work with or showed some appreciation toward the volunteer each week,” the press release stated.

“With teacher shortages in our district and across the state, the help of volunteers is needed now more than ever,” Osborn School District Principal Renee Hamill said in the press release.

Your Experience Counts is a program of HandsOn Greater Phoenix. To volunteer, or for more information, contact Beardslee: mike@handsonphoenix.org; or 623-223-9248; or visit http://www.handsonphoenix.org/yec .

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