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5 Some Exemplary Volunteer Programs Supplementing the analysis of available data and the review of the research literature, committee members and staff made 13 site visits to "exemplary" volunteer programs. The main purpose of the visits, fulfill- ing a major study objective, was to provide committee members with first-hand exposure to a variety of volunteer programs, to talk with and question those involved in giving and receiving services, and to interact with policy makers and teachers. The visits also resulted in a detailed description of each program based on personal observation, as well as analysis of data and materials on the program. This chapter presents summaries of the committee's observations and findings from the site visits. Most visits involved teams of two or three members and staff for 1 or 2 days: 11/2 days at the site and 1/2 day for reviewing and consolidating notes and other information materials. During the visits, extensive inter- views were conducted with the volunteer coordinator or other person re- sponsible for the operation of the program at the city or district level. Interviews were also conducted when possible with the school superin- tendent and other top administrative or policy officials and at building sites with the principal, teachers, and the school volunteer coordinator. In many instances, interviews were also held with volunteers and students. Interview guides for each of these groups were prepared to help assure that some agreed-on core questions would be asked at all sites. These site visits and interviews could not confer instant expertise, but they did serve to give the committee and staff a feeling for what volunteers actually do, how the different levels of the school system view such programs, and how each of the programs is organized and operated. 44
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SOME EXEMPLARY VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS 45 Without exception, all of the site visit hosts were extremely coopera- tive, willingly answering all questions and helping the team see specific instances of exemplary use of volunteers. Although the case histories in this chapter are based on materials supplied at each site as well as notes from interviews and observations, the committee takes responsibility for the descriptions and observations. Selection of sites was based on programs suggested by state and local coordinators of volunteer services organizations, including the National School Volunteers Program (now the National Association of Partners in Education), the National Education Association, the National PTA, the National School Boards Association, and others. Recognizing the difficulty of selecting a few programs that are labeled as exemplary, the committee established the following criteria for a pro- gram to be selected: · have administrative- and policy-level support and show evidence of sound organization and management; · have written goals and objectives, clearly defined, based on school or district priorities and supported by a needs assessment process; have a written plan of action (i.e., procedures for administering pro- gram design); be largely student centered and involve human interaction; collect data and information (e.g., the number of volunteers used, number of students served) and conduct periodic evaluations of progress made toward goals and objectives; and · have been in operation for at least 2 years. In addition, an effort was made to select programs from different parts of the country and from small and medium-sized as well as large school districts. The committee also attempted to select programs representing a variety of organizational arrangements. The number of programs visited was limited by the time and funds available. Although the programs reviewed met the criteria established for "exemplary" programs, the committee was very much aware that there are dozens, probably hundreds, of others that are as good or possibly even better. The descriptions of the 13 programs in this chapter (pre- sented in alphabetical order) should be regarded, therefore, as illustrative of some of the many models that have been developed in different parts of this country, largely over the last two decades. The committee recognized the existence of unsuccessful programs. To deal with this issue, several such programs were identified, and persons were interviewed to provide some insight as to why the programs were unsuccessful. Furthermore, the committee also questioned persons inter
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46 VOLUNTEERS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS viewed during site visits about problems they encountered and how they resolved them. We asked questions about what inhibited successful op- eration such as what happens when administrators, teachers, or teacher organizations are disinterested or even hostile toward use of volunteers, questions on recruitment problems, adequate screenings, liability issues, commitment problems, and others-that the committee had identified as possible inhibiting or even negative factors. Our findings from the inter- views are addressed in the next chapter on factors in school volunteerism. ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN The visit was to the primarily Teaching-Learning Communities (T-LC) program, an intergenerational program housed in the Scarlett Middle School in Ann Arbor. The committee also visited briefly a T-LC program in one elementary school, Carpenter Elementary. In the T-LC program, senior citizens are recruited from the community to work with students. The program emphasizes development of relationships across generations, with the major goal of enhancing the self-esteem of both volunteers and students. The major focus is on working with youths who are at risk of dropping out. A component of the secondary school T-LC program in- volves college students from the University of Michigan who perform much the same functions as the senior volunteers. Ann Arbor, home of the University of Michigan, is a medium-sized university town, with traditionally high expectations of its public schools. The-community recently approved a $30 million bond issue for education, although 70 percent of the population has no children in school. The district's 14,000 students attend 3 high schools, 5 middle schools, and 22 elementary schools. Overall, the T-LC program operates in 2 middle schools, 2 high schools, and 12 elementary schools in the district-just over one-half of all schools. An Ann Arbor elementary school art teacher developed the T-LC pro- gram almost 20 years ago and is now coordinator of the T-LC program in Ann Arbor secondary schools. Another coordinator has responsibility for the program in elementary schools. The T-LC program is strongly sup- ported by the Ann Arbor Education Association, an affiliate of the Na- tional Education Association, which was instrumental in obtaining fund- ing for the program in its early years. The NEA cites the program as a model teacher-created and -supported volunteer activity. The senior volunteers act in specific roles. As mentors, they may talk with students, usually at least once a week, by telephone or in person, helping with concerns about doing well in school or problems with friends or at home. As career guides, they visit schools to explain and discuss their careers. As tutors, they work with individual children on mastery and
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SOME EXEMPLARY VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS 47 practice. As "grandpersons," they go to school, perhaps once a week, to help with creative projects in arts or humanities and their relationship to learning in the areas of basic skills. Because the intergenerational pro- gram is based on mutual learning and teaching by volunteers and stu- dents, the program is "constantly reinvented," with activities depending on the particular strengths and needs of individual students and volun- teers as well as the needs of teachers and administrators in the school. Currently, there are 95 volunteers between the ages of 55 and 94, 60 in elementary schools and 35 in middle schools and high schools; 40 percent are men, and approximately 30 percent are minorities. The program director explained that it is a fundamental tenet of T-LC that volunteers as well as students learn on the job, so she does little or no training of volunteers beyond a 2-hour orientation. Screening of volun- teers for the secondary school program is also minimal; the director says that the program is inclusive rather than exclusive and that she would rarely screen anyone out. However, paid school personnel work closely with volunteers so that liability issues are covered and the volunteer has support when needed. The principal of Scarlett Intermediate was supportive of the T-LC pro- gram. He indicated that in his building the coordinator has responsibility for the program, including record-keeping on volunteers and assignments. At the district level, the superintendent and assistant superintendent for community relationships expressed approval of the T-LC program. They also explained that Ann Arbor has volunteer facilitators or coordinators in other areas such as tutoring in the high schools and a Partners for Excel- lence Program with local businesses, separate from the T-LC program. The teachers' union supports volunteer programs, and teachers welcome the extra help, they said. For the program as a whole, evaluations have been conducted since 1975; generally, these are opinion forms that are filled out by students, teachers, principals, and volunteers, with responses scaled from 1 ("defi- nitely yes") to 5 ("definitely now. These evaluations are overwhelmingly positive about the program. In addition, the college students in the secon- dary schools, but not the senior volunteers, are evaluated by teachers. In 1987, data collection began on grades, test scores, and attendance. The committee found a great deal of commitment and caring among volunteers in the T-LC program, and teachers and volunteers were uni- formly positive about the program. BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS Boston Partners in Education (BPIE), known as School Volunteers for Boston before 1988, is an independent, apolitical, multicultural organiza
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48 VOLIINTEERS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS tion with the mission of strengthening the education experience of the city's public school students. Serving a school system with a large popu- lation of students scoring much lower than the national medians for read- ing and math on national standardized educational tests, this volunteer service organization works with the school system in a broad array of activities. The 118 Boston public schools serve approximately 58,600 students: 48 percent are black, 18 percent Hispanic, 8 percent Asian, and 26 percent white. Analysis of Metropolitan Achievement Tests (MAT) scores showed that close to one-half of all Boston public school students need remedia- tion and probably have difficulty understanding their textbooks. As in other cities, most of these students are black and Hispanic; much of the effort of BPIE is directed to working with these youngsters. The initial operation in 1966 consisted of 28 volunteers in six Boston schools and has grown every year. By 1968 the number was 450; by 1975 it was over 2,000; by 1988 the Lumber was nearly 4,200 persons. The Boston school volunteer effort was established in 1966 with a Ford Foundation grant to the Public Education Association. Having pioneered a small but promising school volunteer program in New York City schools in 1956, the PEA proposed in 1964 to become a national organization, developing similar progress in the 20 largest cities, including Boston. The grant specified that funding was for the purpose of establishing a national office, including field workers who would identify individuals or agen- cies in cities willing to design and find funds for a program suited to the particular city. The Council for Public Schools, which already sponsored educational projects in Boston, expressed interest in initiating a school volunteer program with the help of the newly''formed National School Volunteer Program and worked out a plan with the Boston School De- partment. This agreement stipulated that if volunteers were to be permit- ted in the schools it would have to be under the auspices of a capable and responsible agency that would provide adequate training. Moreover, be- fore placement of any volunteer, a request would have to be made from a particular school. This practice became and still is the program's policy. From the beginning the decision was made to operate the school volun- teers unit in Boston as a nonprofit organization working with the schools. The organization had to raise funds for operating expenses from private foundations and business sources, and it involved the business commu- nity from the start. Early recruitment efforts enlisted organizations with a history of volunteer activity, including Junior League, Radcliff Alumnae Association, B'nai Brith, and others. The volunteers themselves were mainly middle-aged, well-educated, and concerned women. Their efforts were so well received by the formerly skeptical teachers that demands for more help increased each year. As the program expanded, we were told
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SOME EXEMPLARY VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS ~9 it continued to attract middle-income-level women, suburban housewives with former roots in the city, and then men and women with social con- cerns willing to donate their time. Appeals to the business community re- sulted in cooperation from a number of corporations, which allowed employees a few hours a week for volunteer work. Another major source tapped was the large college population in the greater Boston area. By 1972 the organization sought independence from the Council for Public Schools and became the School Volunteers for Boston. In 1988 pursuing a broader mandate, the organization, still operating as a non- profit organization with a board of directors, changed its name to Boston Partners in Education. Although placement of volunteers in schools re- mains the major emphasis, BPIE has expanded its goals and activities. Now included are social intervention services, such as a family support network that provides training and information services for families, as well as linkage of families with schools and other community service providers. BPIE also uses staff experts to provide management, consult- ing, and training services to educators, businesses, and community or- ganizations. Nova one of the largest of the big-city volunteer organizations in the nation, BPIE operates with a budget of over $800,000 and a staff of 25 full- and part-time professionals and 10 consultants. About 25 percent of the funds come from the Boston Public Schools under a contract that includes state funds to aid in the desegregation process; about 60 percent of the funds are from foundations and businesses; and 15 percent come from individual contribution or fee-for-service activities. One of the most active BPIE programs, in which large numbers of volunteers are involved, comes under the heading of enrichment. More than 1,100 people in the 1987-1988 school year enhanced the curriculum with music, art, peace and justice issues, blaclc history, colonial history, law-related education, alcohol and drug awareness, multicultural studies, and science. Intergenerational programs were another large activity: more than 1,100 volunteers participated in interview, oral history, advocacy, and other programs both in schools and in senior citizen centers, nursing homes, and other facilities for older adults. Tutoring of reading, math, English as a second language, writing, and computer use was another extensive area of activity. About 642 persons gave weekly tutoring assistance under the direction of teachers in regular and special education classes. Mentoring activities from 347 business vol- unteers helped students achieve better grades, improve attendance, and plan for higher education. Another 25 persons served as listener/mentors supporting potentially at-risk students through one-on~ne sessions. Read- ing aloud was a supporting activity for 256 volunteers working with ele- mentary school children. Another 230 volunteers gave presentations on
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50 VOLUNTEERS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS their careers, trying to motivate students to stay in school and to set career goals. Volunteers also helped as classroom assistants, supporting individual teachers, and helped school libraries set up creative learning centers. Still others participated as office interns, advisory group mem- bers, clerical and field-trip assistants, and helpers in the arts, sciences, social studies, and foreign languages. A small number of university stu- dents "adopted" elementary school pupils and shared after-school activi ties. Working with each school to determine the needs of individual teach- ers, BPIE serves as a centralized volunteer recruitment, screening, and placement agency to help meet those needs. Recruitment efforts involve media cooperation, extensive contacts with organizations and businesses, as well as helping each school to involve parents and others in the school community. BPIE also screens new volunteers for the schools, including review of applications, reference checks with police for possible criminal records for all volunteers who may be working in an unsupervised situ- ation with children, assurance that required tuberculin tests are on file, and matching the skills and desires of the volunteers with the stated needs of teachers in each school. Orientation of volunteers, including adminis- trative procedures and what is expected, is conducted each week and as needed. Specialized training for activities such as tutoring for English as a second language and mentoring is provided for the volunteers and the teachers. BPE also works with the schools to provide recognition for volunteers. Attempts to experiment with more comprehensive education planning that includes the use of volunteers is under way. In 1988, 39 schools interested in cooperating were selected to participate in this planning ef- fort. Teams from BPIE met with school administrators and teachers to develop plans and procedures for tapping community (including busi- ness) resources. This process will be extended to other groups of inter- ested schools in 1989. The planning process, especially the training pro- vided, is considered essential to providing well-coordinated education programs and to the effective use of volunteers in schools. The independent nonprofit form of BPIE allows the organization con- siderable freedom to develop linkages with parent, church, religious, and social welfare organizations and other groups concerned with children and youth. Collaboration efforts have resulted in after-school and sum- mer programs and allowed experimentation with providing services such as after-school study halls in church buildings, using business and com- munity volunteers to tutor, help, or simply listen to young people. The independent form of organization also allows considerable freedom in fund raising from foundations and the business community to develop models and experiment with innovative approaches to using volunteers and other services to enhance the education of students in Boston's schools.
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SOME EXEMPLARY VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS 51 BPIE has strong support from the superintendent of schools: charged with a mandate to promote collaboration among the schools, the commu- nity, and business, BPIE is a welcome partner in carrying out this man- date. The goals of BPIE are consistent with those of the school board, and the close working relationships and additional resources that BPIE pro- vides are appreciated. The superintendent told the committee that having the BPIE as a collaborator but outside the school system has allowed continuity despite frequent changes in school superintendents and has allowed the program more flexibility and long-term consistency. Evaluation of BPIE activities, like those of other volunteer efforts, is the weakest part of the program. The organization does do a self-assessment on a regular basis, reviewing its progress toward goals, but this is basi- cally a process review. Teachers and volunteers are required to fill out forms reporting their perceptions of accomplishments, and these are used to pinpoint trouble spots and otherwise manage the program. However, little evaluation of outcomes is attempted. The executive director of the organization told us that some experimental attempts at measuring out- comes will be tried this year, but she pointed to high cost as a major factor inhibiting formal evaluation studies. CHICAGO, ILLINOIS Chicago public schools have 400,000 students, a staff of 40,000, and an annual operating budget approaching $2 billion. Total enrollment in the city's 495 elementary schools and 65 high schools has declined by 15 percent since 1978. Approximately two-thirds of the city's students are black; 14 percent are white; and the remainder are Hispanic, Asian, and Native American. Hispanic enrollment has increased by 27 percent since 1978. Slightly more than half of the system's teachers are black. Under a 1984 consent decree, Chicago has been allowed to use magnet schools as a means of desegregation. Many schools, particularly in the city's concentrated public housing areas, remain all black, and others are largely Hispanic. Our visits included an elementary foreign languages magnet school in which the student population is one-third black, one- third white, and one-third Hispanic, and a neighborhood elementary school in the city's largest housing project, where all of the students are black and most are eligible for federally subsidized free school lunches and breakfasts. The organized school volunteer program in Chicago dates back to 1982, when the Chicago Community Trust was asked by the superintendent to support the schools at a time of resource cuts. A pilot program called the Chicago Education Corps was developed and was instituted in three sub- districts in 1983, with 300 volunteers in the first semester. In the 198~1985 school year, the volunteer program became citywide and was given the
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~2 VOLUNTEERS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS status of a bureau in the school system. In 1987-198S, the Bureau of Volunteer Programs counted close to 12,000 volunteers in its programs, more than 95 percent of them in the largest program, the Schoolhouse Volunteers. Principals are asked to send the Bureau of Volunteer Programs a com- pleted and signed application for each volunteer. The bureau aggregates these reports, and prior to an annual citywide recognition ceremony the principal is asked to verify and update a computer printout of all volun- teers in the school. Because volunteer programs are administered by one division of the Chicago school system, while Adopt-a-School and the ca- reer education program are administered by other divisions, it is hard to compare the numbers reported by the bureau with figures from school systems in which all programs involving volunteers are administered by one office. The committee spent one day in discussion with the director of the Bureau of Volunteer Programs and her assistant at Chicago public schools headquarters. They showed a video describing the Schoolhouse Volun- teers program, explained their strategies for recruiting volunteers, and provided samples of materials that are provided to schools, including a manual for volunteers and a manual for building teams that coordinate the work of volunteers. We also met two assistant superintendents and the associate superintendent for human resources. All expressed support for the district's volunteer program. As the Chicago program is structured, the director and her two-person staff are responsible for recruiting volunteers citywide, using public ser- vice announcements on radio and television, usually contributed by local broadcasters, and posters and flyers prepared by the district's graphics department. At the end of the school year, the Bureau of Volunteer Pro grams sponsors a districtwide gala to recognize and honor volunteers who have worked during the year. Day-by-day management of volunteers in school buildings is the re- sponsibility of building teams, usually consisting of the principal or an assistant principal, a teacher (often a resource teacher), and a parent or community volunteer. Any one of the three may serve as the building coordinator. The school recruits its own volunteers, and the building team is expected to train the volunteers, provide orientation to teachers on effective use of volunteers, and keep records of the hours that volun- teers work. Given the size of the Chicago school district and the limited staff of the Bureau of Volunteer Programs, the bureau relies on written materials, including application forms and training manuals, to provide guidance to school teams. On-site technical assistance is available on request. The Bureau of Volunteer Programs oversees five programs in addition to School
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SOME EXEMPLARY VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS 53 house Volunteers: Homework Hotline, Saturday Scholars' Intergenera- tional Tutoring, Treasure Hunters, and Lawmakers for Students. Schoolhouse Volunteers is the basic and largest Chicago volunteer pro- gram, in which individuals work in schools as audiovisual aides, library assistants, bilingual aides, classroom assistants, tutors, administrative staff helpers, and community fund raisers. Parents make up almost 80 percent of the Schoolhouse Volunteers program. Others are senior citizens, college students, or anyone with a desire to share expertise and time by helping young people. The bureau reported 11,263 volunteers active in this pro- gram in schools during the 1987-1988 school year. Schoolhouse Volun- teers are generally recruited by the school in which they will work, through messages sent home to parents, for example. The Bureau of Volunteer Programs does not maintain a bank of potential volunteers, but refers callers to schools in their neighborhoods. Homework Hotline, a partnership between the Chicago Public Schools and the Sun-Times newspaper, is staffed by volunteers from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays. Working from offices in the Sun- Times building, volunteers answer students' telephone questions about homework on all subjects; the majority of calls concern language arts and mathematics. Volunteers include working and retired teachers, other professionals with academic expertise, and volunteers from businesses in the downtown area who come in after work before going home for the evening. In-service training is provided for all volunteers, and they are familiarized with the systemwide learning objectives of the Chicago pub- lic schools. Approximately 80 volunteers staffed the Homework Hotline in 1987-1988. Since the program began, volunteers have fielded more than 25,000 questions. Saturday Scholars is a program in which sailors from the Great Lakes Naval Base volunteer as tutors for students in grades 4 - who are identi- fied by their teachers as needing help. Sailors are transported by the school system to selected schools for five consecutive 2-hour Saturday morning sessions, followed by a sixth Saturday at the naval base that features an awards ceremony, a tour of the base, and lunch. Teaching materials and tutoring formats are supplied by the volunteer program, and the sailors receive orientation and training. The Service School Command at the Great Lakes Naval Base provides registration forms for sailors interested in volunteering. Three Saturday Scholars sessions are scheduled during each school year, and registration is limited to 100 stu- dents per school. Approximately 1,500 tutors and 1,500 students have been involved in the program. Intergenerational Tutoring is a collaboration between the Chicago public schools and the Sibyls Department of Aging. Tutoring sessions in which retirees work with students in grades 4~ are held on Saturdays from
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54 VOLUNTEERS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS 10 a.m. to noon throughout the school year at a facility for the elderly. The Bureau of Volunteer Programs provides in-service training for the volunteers, and students are pretested to determine placement for reading and math tutoring and homework assistance. The program involves ap- proximately 20 tutors and 60 students. Treasure Hunters is a partnership between Chicago public schools and the Chicago Public Library, intended to enhance reading comprehension and vocabulary for students in grades 4-6 during the summer. Students are recruited from elementary schools near two libraries and tested in vocabulary and comprehension prior to the beginning of the program. Tutoring sessions are then designed to meet their individual needs. Addi- tionally, time is set aside for recreational reading. All students are re- quired to have library cards and are encouraged to participate in other library programs. Volunteers are asked to contribute 3 hours per week; tutoring sessions are held in selected public libraries, and, whenever pos- sible, students are tutored one to one. Approximately 115 volunteers and students are involved at two library sites. Lawmakers for Students is a series of lectures for 8th grade students. The Bureau of Volunteer Programs has asked each of the 50 Chicago aldermen to volunteer as a lecturer in an elementary school in his or her ward for 5 weeks, on the topics: "Why I Chose to Be an Alderman," "The Structure of the City Council," "Committees I Serve on and What They Do," ''My Hopes and Dreams for the City of Chicago," and a fifth topic requested by the students. This series is an extra activity for students; students who participate are expected to complete all regular class assignments. The legislators are believed to serve as role models for the students. As a form of program evaluation, the Bureau of Volunteer Programs requests that each principal complete a form at the end of the school year indicating the kind of services that volunteers performed in the school, what was best about the program, and whether volunteers helped to make the school better. Volunteers are asked to complete a similar form, with the added question: '~What would you like to change about the pro- gram?" The bureau's director also indicated that she has accumulated quantita- tive data in the form of pre- and pastiest results, largely from the Satur- day Scholars tutoring programs, that could be analyzed to determine aca- demic gains made by students as the result of volunteer interventions. She said the Bureau of Volunteer Programs lacks the resources to have the data organized and interpreted. The Chicago public schools are scheduled to be drastically restructured. A recent state law abolished the old Board of Education and regional offices, and each school will be governed by a board made up of parents
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SOME EXEMPLARY VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS 81 mittee. The agency also offers training both in one-on-one tutoring and in understanding and working with students from diverse cultures and pro- vides consultant services, including training and helping school volunteer coordinators in developing strategies for involving parents and other community volunteers in school programs and activities. Special programs designed with the aid of educational experts and usually funded by foundations or corporations are also in operation to help implement school district goals. These include experimental pro- grams in math, reading and language arts, special education, and critical thinking and writing. All of these programs have stated goals and objec- tives and provide for a strong evaluation component measuring student achievement, self-esteem, and other outcomes, as well as assessing the effectiveness of the process by which the achievements were accomplished. Several programs are specifically aimed at involving the business com- munity as well as parents. For example, the Think/Write Program, teams professional writers from major San Francisco area corporations with teach- ers in middle and high school classrooms. The objective is to give stu- dents a realistic view of the importance of critical thinking and to develop practical and creative writing skills ranging from letters, memos, press releases, and job applications to short stories and movie reviews. The activity is highly organized, with both teachers and volunteers participat- ing in considerable training. The teams usually do the writing assign- ments themselves before they are presented in class, and they use such techniques as brainstorming, mind-mapping, revising, editing, and group criticism to expose students to the importance of critical thinking as well as creativity. Viewed skeptically at first by teachers, the program, now in its third year, has more applicants than can be accommodated. Other programs include creative ways of enriching the language arts curriculum with quality literature, training senior citizen volunteers in teaching English as a second language so that they can tutor the large number of immigrant students, and helping elementary school children understand and accept children with disabilities. Business partnerships, including the Adopt-A-School program, not only bring volunteers to the schools but provide resources such as management workshops for school administrators, scholarships, summer job opportunities, and other sup- port for students, teachers, and schools. Making it possible for experimental programs that have been proven successful to be introduced in schools that have not been part of the ex- periment is a major challenge for the school district. Some of these proj- ects, such as the Think/Write Program, are literally changing the way critical thinking and writing are taught in the participating schools. Find- ing ways after foundation funding runs out to continue this creative col- laboration of teachers and business volunteers and to provide the training
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82 VOLUNTEERS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS required to assure the success of this type of program adds to the school district's challenge. Evaluation of virtually all aspects of volunteer activity is carried out or supported by the San Francisco School Volunteers. For example, each school year separate evaluation forms are completed by volunteer coordi- nators in each school and by the volunteers. The questions cover percep- tions of usefulness of volunteers and allow for comments on the role of the volunteer organization in recruiting, placing, training, and monitor- ing. Summary data show a generally high level of satisfaction. Individ- ual comments, however, have indicated trouble spots in communication, training, and inadequate orientation at the school or lack of understand- ing on the part of the teacher as to how to use a volunteer's time effec- tively, and they have been used to remedy problems. Overall, forms returned by the volunteers also indicate a high level of satisfaction. In addition to the evaluation forms from volunteer coordinators and volunteers, each project funded by foundation or corporate sources has stated goals and objectives and a built-in evaluation aspect. These evalu- ations, usually conducted by outside experts, include, as appropriate, as- sessment of academic achievement as well as indications of self-esteem, reduction of absenteeism, and attitude changes of students and teachers. Evaluation results show substantial improvements in elementary reading scores, high school foreign-language scores, and noticeable gains in stu- dent problem-solving ability in mathematics, writing, and English. Con- tributions of volunteers toward reading improvement score measurements made before and after volunteer programs are implied. The extent to which improvements are due to better teaching or to help from the volun- teers could not be measured, but the improvements were clearly there, and teachers attested to the contributions of the volunteers. TULSA, OKLAHOMA The Tulsa, Oklahoma, school system has lost more than one-half of its students in the past decade, as a result of sharp declines in the oil econ- omy. Currently, 41,000 students attend the district's 78 elementary, middle, and high schools. More than two-thirds of the students are white, one- third are black, and a number are Native American. In Tulsa, most black families live in one part of the city, whites in another. The Tulsa community is traditionally conservative, with an orientation to solving its own problems. While the city has pockets of poverty, disad- vantage looks different in Tulsa than it does in densely populated cities such as Chicago and Los Angeles. Neighborhoods described as among the poorest were generally made up of single-family homes with lawns, or- derly and well maintained.
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SOME EXEMPLARY VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS 83 An extremely strong and comprehensive school volunteer program in Tulsa had its roots in a 1970s school desegregation effort, when Tulsa, determined to avoid court-ordered desegregation, created a voluntary system of magnet schools with heavy parent involvement. In addition, under its current superintendent, the school system is committed to "ef- fective schools" principles, including community involvement. In the 1987-1988 school year, between 3,900 and 4,000 volunteers worked in Tulsa schools, contributing approximately 169,000 hours of service in a variety of capacities ranging from direct involvement in the instructional process to clerical support for teachers and administrative staff. The climate appears to favor school volunteerism and community in- volvement in Tulsa, but without exception the school officials we met during a 2-day visit to Tulsa credited an individual, the director of busi- ness/community resources, with the effectiveness of the district's volun- teer and partnership programs. The director was active as a parent in the magnet school desegregation plan, became the first director of school vol- unteers in Tulsa in the early 1970s, and now administers an Adopt-a- School business partnership program, as well as an array of specialized volunteer programs developed to meet specific needs of the schools and students. During the committee's Tulsa visit, we met with the superintendent and with the associate superintendent for instruction. Both expressed unequivocal support for the Business/Community Resources program. Two teacher union representatives with whom we met were equally sup- portive. The president and vice-president of the Tulsa Classroom Teach- ers Association said teachers in Tulsa are enthusiastic about having vol- unteer assistance. Asked if volunteers are seen as performing jobs that might otherwise go to paid aides, one said: "As I see it, volunteers are doing things that would not be done at all if they were not in the schools." The teacher representatives indicated some preference for corporate vol- unteers, saying they tend to be less intrusive and less emotional about school operations than parent volunteers. On a schedule that began at 8 a.m. each day, we visited six schools, each with a volunteer program that represents one approach to commu- nity involvement. In each school, volunteer activities were organized and structured and addressed specific instructional objectives. McLain High School is in a predominantly black neighborhood in one of the cites lowest-income areas. The school is bright, clean, and orderly, and the students are well dressed and personable. The principal is using many techniques to persuade neighborhood children to remain at McLain and not transfer to one of the city's magnet high schools. Recently, he and the district coordinator developed an Adopt-a-Class project in which professionals, most of them black, come into classes on a regular basis to
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84 VOLUNTEERS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS talk about student problems or about their own careers and educational experiences. On the day of our visit, a college admissions officer was discussing student aid with a class of seniors; a husband-and-wife team was leading a discussion of drug abuse and suicide; and a dentist was describing tooth structure. Many of the volunteers were on released time from area businesses and corporations. The volunteers meet once a month to exchange information and make plans; according to the principal, they provide invaluable role models for his students. At Houston Elementary School, there is an active Take Reading to Heart program in which community volunteers (at Houston the volunteers were Junior Leaguers) work one on one with kindergarteners and 1st graders who are having reading difficulties. The volunteers use a variety of ob- jects, including letter shapes and picture cards, to determine if the chil- dren have necessary reading readiness skills and to remedy deficiencies. At some point in the session, each child gets to snuggle into a cushioned area to read a book with a tutor. According to the school principal, the program has significantly reduced the number of children who must spend a developmental year between kindergarten and 1st grade. At Sequoyah Elementary School we talked with a counselor who ap- proached the district coordinator with a request for adult friends for the increasing number of students in Sequoyah's middle-class community whose parents work or are otherwise unable to give their children time and companionship. In this program, students from a nearby college walk to the elementary school, and a partnership has been developed in which the college students come to school regularly to talk with their young friends, walk with them on the school grounds, or help with a school project. We were presented with letters written for us by some of the students about "the best, best friend I ever had." Students are sug- gested for the program by their teachers and must have parental permis- sion to participate. Cleveland Middle School, which enrolls students from a middle-class working community and has a large number of Native American stu- dents, has been adopted by Warren Petroleum Company. Evidence of the partnership includes computers in the media center, volunteers from the company who teach computer use, and the library's recently computer- ized records, which were accomplished with volunteer help. The adop- tion is clearly mutual: the assistant principal pointed to a trophy case of students' artwork saluting their business partner. At Lindbergh Elementary School, volunteers are an integral part of kindergarten every day. The committee found it hard to tell which of the adults in the three kindergarten sections were staff and which were vol- unteers. The volunteers are essential to the teacher's program, in which children are busy with many different activities at the same time. Volun- teers were clearly comfortable with their roles, helping with paints, pin
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SOME EXEMPLARY VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS 85 ning up artwork, smiling with approval, or clearing up spills. As in the other Tulsa schools visited, the volunteers appeared to be well oriented and trained and went about their activities with confidence. The Disney Elementary School uses volunteers in a science enrichment program developed for the Tulsa schools by scientists at Amoco research headquarters in Tulsa. The scientists developed a hands-on curriculum in which students work in small groups to perform experiments and solve problems. The curriculum, now distributed nationally, relies explicitly on volunteers to work with the students. According to the science teacher, the volunteers often contribute creative ideas of their own to enhance the program. At the time of the committee's visit, students were clearly ab- sorbed and engaged in learning under competent volunteer supervision. Disney Elementary School also has other volunteer programs, including a volunteer workroom, where teachers can leave requests for copying, lami- nating, or other small services; volunteers pick up the requests when they arrive at school and fill them. As at the other Tulsa schools, the volun- teers seemed exceptionally well organized and self-starting. Tulsa's Adopt-a-School program, begun 5 years ago, is a joint effort between the Tulsa Board of Education and the Metropolitan Tulsa Cham- ber of Commerce. Companies and organizations are asked to be commit- ted for a full year and to release their employees in teams for up to 3 hours a week. Principals and teachers are expected to design programs linking students with volunteers, and the district school volunteer coordi- nator keeps communication open among the participants and assures that the objectives of each are being met. Schools are encouraged to assess their needs and request adoption on the basis of those needs. After adop- tion, the Business/C:ommunity Resource program staff conducts an orien- tation for school personnel and the adopting partner. Once the program is in place, a written evaluation is completed by participants at the end of each year. One staff member in the four-person Business/Community Resource Office spends full time managing a Volunteer Speakers Bureau. A list of speaker topics starts with "Acting," "Accounting," "Adoption," "Aero- space," and "Agriculture" and ends with "Welding," "Wildlife," ' - ills and Trusts," '~Word Processing," "Writers," and "Zoo." Teachers may request the services of a speaker by mailing a speaker request form to the office, detailing such items as the purpose of the presentation, the instruc- tional unit or activity to which it relates, the grade level, and the number of students. The speaker is identified and confirmed to the teacher and principal. Both the teacher and the speaker receive guidelines for presen- tations, and the speaker receives an introduction card and name tag. Teachers are asked to complete an evaluation form after the event, and speakers are officially thanked by the Business/Community Resource Office.
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86 VOLUNTEERS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS WASHINGTON, D.C. Washington, D.C., is the 15th largest city in the nation. The estimated population in 1988 was 621,658. According to a survey conducted by the Greater Washington Research Center in 1986, the population was 67 per- cent black, 28 percent white, and 5 percent "other races." Washington is also one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse cities in the United States. It is also a city of extreme contrasts. According to the 1980 census, more than 28 percent of the residents above 25 had attended 4 or more years of college, yet almost 16 percent had not completed elementary school. More than 14 percent of the households lived in poverty, yet the District had the second highest per capita income in the nation. The 1988 student enrollment stands at 87,700, including 51,174 elemen- tary students (prekindergarten through grade 6~; 17,196 junior high stu- dents (grades 7-9~; 17,396 senior high students (grades 10-12~; and 1,080 students in special education. The school system also serves approxi- mately 18,000 residents citywide with adult education services. Of the 1988 prekindergarten through 12th grade enrollment, 96 percent of the students are minorities, of which 91.7 percent are black. In 1989-1990, the public school enrollment is expected to be 90,200. For the school year 1988-1989, there were 19,805 D.C. resident students attending private schools, about the same number as in 1987. According to the Division of Bilingual Education Fact Sheet dated November 30, 1988, the language minority student enrollment in the school system is 8,991, a growth of 6,500 students from the 1980 level of 2,400. Recently, a substantial number of students from Central and South Amer- ica, Asia, North Africa, and the Caribbean islands moved to Washington. Such a diverse student population has complex cultural, linguistic, and educational needs. The largest concentration, Hispanic, represents every Spanish-speaking country in the world, with a great number of students from El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico. The school administrative structure is unique, as might be expected for the city. One superintendent and one Board of Education execute what are, elsewhere, both state and local district functions. The first elected school board was established in 1968; the first nonvoting student member of the board was elected in 1982. Washington was one of the cities that received seed money from the National School Volunteer Program of the Public Education Association of New York City in the mid-1970s to establish a school volunteer pro- gram. Under an energetic superintendent, the city continued to expand its community involvement and now operates comprehensive school vol- unteer, Adopt-a-School, and partnership programs, all administered by a
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SOME EXEMPLARY VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS 87 Volunteer Services and Training Branch established in 1977. In the 1987-1988 school year, the school system reported that 23,007 volunteers gave 5 million hours of time, worth $25 million; and every one of the city's 200 schools and programs received some kind of volunteer service. Fifty-one percent of volunteers serve in elementary schools, 20 percent in middle and junior high schools, 10 percent in high schools, 13 percent in adult education, 12 percent in special education, and 4 percent in commu- nity schools. Volunteer efforts fall into four major categories: support to instruction, which includes tutoring and classroom assistance (53 percent); extension services, defined as additions to counseling or administrative functions (17 percent); enrichment activities in the form of extracurricular learning experiences (21 percent); and advisory and advocacy activities (9 percent). The school board has established detailed regulations for the utiliza- tion of volunteer services. The superintendent and staff are specifically authorized to accept such services provided that no volunteer performs "any function or service that is currently being performed by an em- ployee" and voluntary services or their availability are not used as a basis for "reduction in force" of school personnel. Volunteers are required to sign a statement acknowledging that they have been informed of the na- ture and scope of the voluntary services to be performed and of the board's regulations, especially those concerning confidentiality, conflict of inter- est, liability protection, and political activity. The Volunteer Services and Training Branch conducts districtwide re- cruiting and volunteer recognition and is available to schools for technical assistance in program development, volunteer training, and staff develop- ment. The branch also provides guest speakers for schools or community groups and materials to support tutorial instruction and related efforts. Schools are also encouraged to recruit their own volunteers. A coordina- tor is appointed for each building by the principal; this is usually a re- source teacher or assistant principal. The coordinator collects and reports volunteer names and hours and serves as liaison with the branch for training and other assistance. The Volunteer Services and Training Branch also administers a number of districtwide programs that provide volunteers to schools. They include Operation Rescue, an elementary tutorial program cosponsored by the Washington Urban League; Project Mentor, a secondary mentoring pro- gram using volunteer professionals to supplement counseling services; Operation Outreach, an after-school tutorial program for secondary stu- dents; and Project Access, a pre-employment training program for high school seniors. The branch also assists schools to set up partnerships with businesses, community organizations, or government agencies. The committee's visit included a half-day briefing at the offices of the
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88 VOLUNTEERS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS Volunteer Services and Training Branch by the director. Meetings were also held with the executive assistant to the superintendent for corporate liaison and with a member of the Board of Education, both of whom were highly supportive of the volunteer and partnership programs. The assis- tant to the superintendent said that schools are looking to the community for technical support, since even highly trained teachers have limited com- petence in areas out of their discipline. He noted that the district is asking businesses, "How is it you instruct your employees, and is it applicable to schools?" The board member stressed the importance of parent and com- munity involvement in schools in her ward. We visited three schools, one elementary, one junior high, and one senior high, all with active volunteer programs. Stevens Elementary School was built in 1868 as one of the first school for blacks in the District of Col- umbia and was named for Pennsylvania Congressman Thadeus Stevens. It is located in the heart of D.C.'s high-rise financial district. The school's attendance area includes the White House, but children attend from all over Washington in part because of an extended-day program that en- ables parents who work to pick their children up as late as 6 p.m. The principal has turned the school's midtown location to advantage: "I walk into the offices and say, 'We need help'," she said. On the day of our visit, a federal judge was challenging teams of 5th graders to compete in answering general-knowledge questions; he comes to the school weekly. A brokerage firm has developed a stock market program using math and reading skills; children follow the progress of stocks in daily newspapers, plan investment strategies, and make or lose "money." At the end of the year, the firm provides each child one share of stock. Teachers spoke with enthusiasm about volunteers in their build- ing and noted that many children develop close friendships with volun- teer mentors and tutors. The children at Stevens seemed completely at ease with visitors; they were friendly and self-confident, as were the fac- ulty. Our visit to Shaw Junior High was in the afternoon after classes had ended; we therefore saw no students or volunteers, but the coordinators of the school's volunteer program and a community education program that uses volunteers gave us a comprehensive briefing. Shaw, once noto- rious for violence and disorder, is a tightly controlled campus; students are not allowed to leave school during the day, and cleanliness and order are rigorously maintained. Parents are required to come to the school when students have problems and to take responsibility for their children's behavior and achievement. Shaw has numerous adopters, including a major chain of food markets, and is partnered with McDonalds, l.W. Marriott, and IBM. In 1987 the
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SOME EXEMPLARY VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS 89 school celebrated "A Decade of Volunteer Service in an Inner-City School," including career orientation, cultural enhancement, communication and technical skills, improved attendance, consumer awareness, and employ- ment opportunity. This year in the Shaw Community School, which holds classes several nights a week, the volunteer coordinator and the community school assis- tant principal are implementing the tutorial program, Operation Outreach, with the goal of increasing achievement levels of each participant by 4 months. Evidence will be documented by the SORT (Slosson Oral Read- ing Test) and a standardized math test. Volunteers also teach cooking, sewing, and crafts in the community school. Dunbar Senior High School is a Washington institution; now housed in a new building, the "old Dunbar" graduated many black national leaders, particularly in the arts. Because of its location, Dunbar does not have access to many businesses but relies a great deal on the numerous black churches in the area as a source of volunteers. Like most D.C. schools, all of its students are black, and black pride messages are conspicuous in display cases and posters. The atmosphere of the school is quiet and controlled, but relationships between staff and students are apparently warm. At the time of our visit, the principal was on her way to a hospital to visit a student who had been injured in a car accident on the way to school. The principal introduced us to the new president of the school's PTA, who was in the school as a volunteer. He is a black male librarian who meets weekly with English classes. Committee members also talked with a team of black professionals from one of the churches, which has started a mentoring and counseling program. The principal made clear that vol- unteers from churches understand that they may not use volunteering as a way of delivering religious messages. A volunteer schedule for the day showed the department and teacher with whom a volunteer was working and the volunteer's name and affiliation. The D.C. public schools hosted a volunteer experiment in 1986-1988, in which a local civic group recruited mathematicians, scientists, and engi- neers from the entire metropolitan area to supplement and enhance the teaching of math and science in junior high schools. The project found that it was possible to attract professional people to schools in all neigh- borhoods of the city; a major stumbling block turned out to be uncertainty on the part of many teachers about how to use or react with another adult, who often has a Ph.D. degree' in their classrooms. Intensive train- ing for teachers in which they were encouraged to write job descriptions for prospective volunteers led to better matches between volunteers and teachers; the program is continuing under an advisory committee of com- munity representatives.
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So VOLUNTEERS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS SUMMARY In reviewing the committee's 13 site visits, the major impression shared by the members is that the impact of these volunteer programs on stu- dents was positive. This finding is not surprising in light of the fact that the sites were chosen because knowledgeable groups thought them to have exemplary volunteer programs. It was evident from interviews that the programs were based on needs expressed by teachers at the participating schools. The programs came across as well organized and supported at the policy level. The commit- tee was also impressed with the efforts in large cities and suburban areas where small staffs were able to deliver the services of thousands of volun- teers to large numbers of schools and students. Despite these efforts, however, many of the volunteer coordinators interviewed expressed the view that there were many more students who could benefit from volun- teer help than were receiving it and that greater efforts are needed. Impressions of committee members were that those responsible for organizing and administrating these programs were able, caring, and committed people trying to help overburdened education systems meet the needs of students and that the programs were achieving positive re- sults. But the committee found little in the way of formal evaluation studies to substantiate this positive view. Evaluations available even in these "exemplary" programs were largely informal attempts to determine teacher, administrator, or volunteer perceptions as to the value of the effort. For the most part, these "evaluations" are used by the administra- tors to monitor the program; they were particularly useful, the committee was told, in identifying problems that needed attention or in calling atten- tion to particularly successful activities. Those few studies that were directed to evaluating outcomes resulting from the use of volunteers were usually tied to projects carried out with outside funding from foundations or corporations, and they had an evalu- ation built into the project. These included, for example, a few studies measuring the effects of volunteer tutoring, which showed positive re- sults. But even most of these evaluations were formalized attempts to get at perceptions of outcomes. Cost factors and conceptual problems, such as isolating variables OF determining suitable measures of success, were among those cited by volunteer coordinators as obstacles to formal evalu- ation. For the most part, therefore, the committee had to rely on the available perception studies, informal evaluations, anecdotal information obtained in interviews, and their own observations and experience in as- sessing the value of the volunteer programs that were visited. In general, the committee notes that although all of the volunteer coor- dinators were proud of their accomplishments, none pretended that these were any panacea for education or indeed anything more than some help
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SOME EXEMPLARY VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS 91 for the process. It was pointed out that most of the tasks undertaken by volunteers could be handled by paid staff, but funds for such staff are not available, and without volunteer help the tasks would not be done. There simply is not enough money in any of the school systems to pay for the services that volunteers provide. Moreover, there are some services, usu- ally involving enrichment, that could not be performed by school staff, such as lectures, presentations, or demonstrations by scientists, jurists, artists, and others with special expertise. As part of their site visits, committee members asked volunteer admin- istrators and others to give us their perceptions of impediments to their programs and to tell us how they dealt with them. Discussed were a range of problems, including: overcoming difficulties in recruiting suffi- cient numbers of volunteers; dealing with lack of commitment on the part of some volunteers or lack of knowledge as to how to use volunteer time effectively on the part of some teachers; and adapting to commitment changes at the policy level when school superintendents or school boards change. Some of these are factors that can inhibit the overall success of volunteer programs, which are discussed in more detail in the next chap- ter. However, the committee was told that when problems arise that affect students, such as volunteers who do not show up as agreed or are unable to work with a student, they are addressed immediately. In its deliberations, the committee tried to view the volunteer contribu- tion in perspective in order to assess its limitations as well as its potential. Volunteers usually spend 3 to 4 hours per week in a school. In the organ- ized programs that were visited, volunteers are screened, oriented, pro- vided training as appropriate, and assigned to work under the supervi- sion of professional staff. All of the program coordinators noted that volunteer help is provided only to teachers who ask for it. Teachers who are skeptical of the value of volunteers or prefer not to have an additional person working with them in the classroom simply do not participate. It was evident that no matter how effective a volunteer activity, it is only supplementary to a well-run education program. Although there is agreement that volunteer help can make a difference, neither school ad- ministrators nor the volunteer coordinators believe that any massive infu- sion of volunteers could make up the shortcomings of an underfunded, poorly run education system. The committee also observes that volunteering is clearly a growing social movement. The volunteers we talked with said they feel good about their volunteer service. The programs seen all had policy-level support and considerable citizen participation, and there was excitement about what the volunteer programs have accomplished and their poten- tial. In summary, the committee viewed the weight of evidence as to accomplishments of the volunteer programs it visited to be positive.
Representative terms from entire chapter: