ACE: A Community for Education started in 1994 and has provided tutoring to about 17,000 low income students since its inception. They have also provided over one million hours of service to children and families in Central Texas. AmeriCorps members tutor kindergarten, first grade, and second grade students with a model that has proven effective in helping 75% of students reach or exceed grade level reading by the end of the program. Each team of tutors uses a framework that is aligned with national reading research and state curricular guidelines, which are customized to each grade level. The Response-to-Intervention model helps tutors tailor their instruction to each particular student. This method has enabled them to provide one-on-one tutoring experiences with students, and within the year of 2012-13, 2,045 students were tutored. Comparison group analysis have shown that without this intervention, kindergarten and first grade students would not have progressed in literacy.
In addition to providing tutors for low income children, ACE also provides qualified tutors the ability to obtain teaching certification through their partnership with Texas Region XIII Alternative Certification Program. They also partner with Serve MN and Minnesota Reading Corps to expand a research-based reading corps model in Central TX. Tutors are encouraged to continue their service after their term of service, and 90% of ACE AmeriCorps tutors continued their service after their term ended.
The secrets to their success is the intensity of the program. AmeriCorps members see children daily for thirty minutes of tutoring. They also provide reading assessments at the beginning, middle, and end of the school year to help monitor the student’s progress. Tutors receive on average sixty hours of training on early reading strategies and are supervised and supported on site by ACE literacy experts.
To learn more about this program, read pages 22-23 of Transforming Communities through Service.