Volunteers Needed to Support WakeTogether Tutoring Program

Wake County Public School System students continue to flourish under a high-dosage tutoring model, but more volunteers are needed to help it continue to be successful.


The program has a goal of expanding to 62 schools and needs a minimum of 150 additional volunteers to meet that goal this semester. Beyond this year, hundreds of volunteers are needed to continue expanding the program for students. Visit the www.wakeed.org/waketogether/ to sign up to participate.


WakeTogether, which began in the fall of 2022, is a tutoring initiative developed to combat the interrupted learning that has taken place due to the pandemic and to support the success of WCPSS students. 


The district has partnered with Helping Education, and the YMCA of the Triangle, the City of Raleigh, Communities in Schools, the Daniel Center for Math and Science, the Boys and Girls Club of Wake County, Read and Feed, Wake County Libraries, and WakeEd Partnership to coordinate a coalition of community organizations and volunteers to deliver high-dosage tutoring in reading for more than 1,000 K-12  students.


WakeEd Partnership is spearheading the call for more individuals, the business community, and community-based organizations to be a part of the tutoring program to expand the program to serve more students.


“WakeTogether is a true community collaboration,” said Becky Foote, Senior Administrator of Enrichment and Community Involvement. “We have wonderful community partners that have continued to work with us to find ways to provide evidence-based learning in schools and in selected community organizations to narrow inequities in student success.” 


The district is currently working to identify additional schools to implement the program in the second semester of the 2023-24 school year. This is a part of a multi-year plan to recruit and engage volunteers, strengthen existing partnerships, and build new partnerships to strengthen the WakeTogether program.


WakeTogether plans celebrate the success of currently participating schools and bring forward a call to action for volunteers to support schools who will begin implementation in February at a launch event at the Feb. 20 Wake County Board of Education regular session meeting. 


Trained volunteers deliver one-to-one training to students during the school day. All tutors are trained to utilize the One-on-One Helping Early Literacy with Practice Strategies (HELPS) program and all students participating in the program will receive tutoring three times per week for 20 minutes. Students receive tutoring during the school day based on individual need. 


Students who participated in one-to-one tutoring were more likely to see growth in reading fluency. For example, students in WakeTogether moved from only 12% meeting their reading benchmark, to 38.6%.


Smith Magnet Elementary is one of the schools that implemented the HELPS interventions beginning with the 2022-23 school year. Students were provided small group support from staff, and one-to-one tutoring supported by trained adult volunteers. 


In the one-to-one program, nine volunteer tutors served 12 students 4 days a week. After implementing HELPS for an entire school year, 8% of the students met the benchmark in fluency, and 58% were only slightly below the benchmark. 83% of the students met the benchmark in their accuracy rate, while 8% of students made an accelerated growth rate in fluency, and 50% of students made an accelerated growth rate in accuracy. 


“The results shown in progress data are encouraging, but what really means a lot to us is the human impact,” said Lindsay Machesky, Literacy Interventionist at Smith Magnet Elementary. “Teachers, instructional assistants, and volunteers alike compliment the ease with which the program is implemented and supported and are proud of the progress students have made.”


The program has been so successful that the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CGLR) recognized WakeTogether with Pacesetter Honors for its 2022-23 work. The theme for Pacesetter Honors this year is “Moving the Needle in Impact Areas.”


“It indeed is time to move the needle in impact areas and these Pacesetter Communities demonstrate how mobilized communities are succeeding,” said Ralph Smith, managing director of CGLR. “Let us all learn and grow from recognizing and understanding what they’ve accomplished. We applaud the civic leaders and local funders whose time, talent, energy and imagination have fueled progress in this Pacesetter Community.”



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