Student Success Corps
The Student Success Corps supports the efforts of 34 AmeriCorps members and is one of two AmeriCorps programs offered at Springfield College. Student Success Corps positions include Academic Coaches, LACES Academic Coaches, School Counselors, and Literacy Tutors, who serve in public and private pre-K classrooms, middle schools, and high schools. The program also offers 3 Student Volunteer Coordinator positions; these members help to recruit and manage additional volunteers in programs supporting Springfield Public Schools. Student Volunteer Coordinators serve at Springfield School Volunteers and in the College’s Office of student Volunteer Programs.
The Student Success Corps Literacy Tutors are part of a replication of the Minnesota Reading Corps, one of the largest and most successful state AmeriCorps programs in the country. Massachusetts became one of only three states to launch replication of the pre-K model in 2012, placing 12 quarter-time tutors in 6 classrooms at 3 sites. In 2013-14, the program added 8 half-time tutors and expanded to 14 classrooms at 4 sites.
Minnesota Reading Corps
Minnesota Reading Corps launched in Minnesota in 2003, serving preschool children in four Head Start agencies. The early results showed the model was effective, and the program quickly expanded to serve children age 3–grade 3 in many more locations throughout the state. Minnesota Reading Corps has grown each year to become the largest state AmeriCorps program in the country. There are more than 1,000 Minnesota Reading Corps tutors currently serving in 500 Head Start centers, preschools, and elementary schools throughout Minnesota.
The goal of the Minnesota Reading Corps is to help every child become a successful reader by the end of 3rd grade. The program places AmeriCorps members as literacy tutors to implement a researched-based early literacy effort to help struggling readers. The Minnesota Reading Corps strategies are designed for both preschool-aged children and K–3rd grade students. Minnesota Reading Corps Preschool Literacy Tutors work with preschool-aged children in their classrooms to create literacy-rich environments, focusing on the “Big Five” emergent literacy skills. Data is regularly collected for each child in order to tailor literacy interventions for individual children, children in small groups, and for whole classrooms.
A Proven Model to Address a National Problem
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the “The Nation’s Report Card,” showed in 2011 that only 34 percent of fourth graders read at a “proficient” level. Thus, two-thirds of students did not finish third grade with these essential reading skills. Research shows that students not reading proficiently by grade 3 are four times more likely than proficient readers to drop out of high school (Hernandez, 2011).
Reading Corps has the power to change the academic trajectory of struggling readers. It blends the power of AmeriCorps with the science of how children learn to read. In 2011, 80% of 3rd grade Reading Corps participants passed the statewide reading assessment, compared to 78% for all Minnesota students. In fact, the program was featured as a Bright Spot by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.
Replication: From Minnesota to Massachusetts
According to results from the statewide reading assessment (MCAS) in Massachusetts, more than 60% of children in Springfield are unable to read proficiently by the end of third grade. Research shows that children who cannot read proficiently by this crucial stage are much less likely to graduate from high school. With this in mind, the AmeriCorps staff at Springfield College began collaborating with local literacy champions to find solutions to this problem, and what they found was the Minnesota Reading Corps, a program with a ten-year proven track record in helping children gain the early literacy skills needed to become proficient readers, beginning in pre-K.
With training and technical assistance from ServeMinnesota and additional funding form Springfield’s funder Collaborative for Reading Success and the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation, Springfield College launched a replication of the Minnesota Reading Corps pre-K model in 2012 with 12 Literacy Tutors placed at the Mason Square Head Start, Square One, and Margaret C. Ells Elementary School. The program expanded to 20 Literacy Tutors in 2013-14 and added Boland Elementary School as a site.
Student Success Corps Service Sites
- Pre-K (Minnesota Reading Corps Replication)
- Edward P. Boland School
- Margaret C. Ells School
- Mason Square Head Start
- Square One: King Street
- Square One: Family Square
- Springfield Public Schools
- Van Sickle Middle School
- Springfield Renaissance School (6-12)
- Roger L. Putnam Vocational-Technical Academy
- Springfield College Office of Student Volunteer Programs
- Springfield School Volunteers