Remote learning throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in unfinished learning and/or learning loss for countless students. Research shows that the typical student in grades 3 to 8 returned to school this year 9 to 11 percentile points behind in math and 3 to 7 percentile points behind in reading. It could take up to 14 weeks of additional instruction for these students to return to grade level.
Volunteers are great resources. They help solve challenges, create positivity, and assist with many initiatives such as tutoring, planning and chaperoning enrichment programs, and supporting guardians in engagement, as described below:
1- Provide Tutoring Opportunities
Tutoring programs, when implemented correctly, can drastically improve a student’s academic performance and help them return to grade level. High dosage tutoring—sessions that are at least 30 minutes long and take place 3 times a week—tends to have the highest impact on student learning. Working with the student and their guardians, schools can determine whether a student should participate in a group session, a virtual program, or one-on-one tutoring based on their specific needs.
2- Implement Enrichment Programs
Out-of-school and/or enrichment programs are offered before or after the regular school day, on weekends, and/or during school breaks. These programs can help students maintain a routine, connect with peers and instructors, and accelerate learning. Voluntary, no-cost programs that include meals and transportation are the most effective. The program should last at least five consecutive weeks, and the instruction should be aligned with what students are learning in class. Enrichment programs typically engage students in various activities, including career development sessions, sports leagues, art activities, and field trips to museums.
3- Teach Guardians How to Support Student Learning
Regardless of age, race, and ethnicity, research shows that students earn higher grades, attend school more regularly, and are more motivated when schools and guardians work together. Many guardians want to help their children succeed but may not know how. Along with Meet the Teacher or Open House events, schools can provide educational sessions to guardians that encourage them to engage in student learning, as well offer tips on how to best do this. It’s important schools provide sessions in multiple languages, so that guardians can participate regardless of their native language.
How School Volunteers Can Help
Schools can recruit current teachers, guardians, local college students, teaching candidates, recently retired teachers, paraprofessionals, and highly trained tutors to assist in these efforts. It’s also important that schools have volunteers who are bilingual and/or trained in English as a Second Language (ESL) to support programs with diverse students and guardians. Students who have disabilities will also need volunteers that are trained in special education.
Regardless of the opportunity, schools need an efficient method to recruit, screen, approve, and track each volunteer. Used by thousands of schools nationwide, Raptor Volunteer Management can streamline the application process, track hours, and confirm each volunteer and tutor, including those who only work virtually, is safe to work with students.