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The Corporate Volunteers Program was created in 1999 through a collaborative partnership with the Greater Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. The current corporate sponsor of the program is Kaplan Early Learning Company.
The objective of the program is to improve the reading performance of specifically identified K-2nd grade students in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, so that each tutored child will be at or above the expected proficiency level by the end of the school year. Conceived for students who entered school lacking the general readiness skills needed for early school success, the program emphasizes reading interaction between students and volunteers.
Fifteen Title 1 elementary schools are served by the program: Ashley, Bolton, Diggs-Latham, Easton, Forest Park, Hall-Woodward, Ibraham, Kimberley Park, Konnoak, Mineral Springs, North Hills, Old Town, Petree, South Fork, and Speas Elementary Schools. Business and community volunteers spend one hour each week, from October through the middle of May, working with students on reading and language skills. Volunteers typically work with 2 assigned students during their session each week. Some individuals choose to “partner”, alternating visits with another volunteer, which allows their assigned student(s) to still receive a weekly visit from one of the volunteers. Some students need continued support beyond kindergarten, so many volunteers “move up” with their assigned student to 1st or 2nd grade if the reading assessment indicates continued support is needed. Participants in the program use a reading curriculum called Bookworms, which was reviewed and aligned by teachers to meet district reading standards. Training and orientation is provided in October at each site by the school representative and the Chamber. Volunteers are surveyed at the end of the program year to provide feedback.
During the 2016-17 school year, 88 businesses and organizations provided volunteers to kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade students in the program. Students were selected based on their beginning of year reading screenings. At the end of the school year, 65% of students improved either one level in their reading skills, or reached proficient levels; (206 of 316 K-2 students). *Kindergarten students remain the highest number of students served by the program; 73% improved one reading level or reached proficiency at the end of the year. (159 of 217 kindergarten students).
The Corporate Volunteers Program promotes positive mentoring relationships, community involvement and development, and celebrates diversity by crossing racial, social, and economic boundaries.
To sign up your organization or to participate as an individual, contact Jennifer Cobb at 336-728-9219.