Research has shown that third grade reading proficiency is a powerful predictor of later academic achievement. Children are learning to read until third grade, yet after, they are reading to learn. Because of the number of young children in our community who are below proficiency in reading, it’s important to support and participate in opportunities to help them reach their highest academic potential so they can succeed in school and life.
“My student was not into tutoring when we first started and by the end of it he was reading 6 books per session,” mentioned one tutor. “It was a struggle but I thought it was important to show him to not give up.” A committed and kind-hearted tutor, willing to give their time, can help make the difference in a child’s education.
From 2016-17 to 2017-18, the overall percent of third graders in our community who are grade-level proficient in reading dropped from 45% to 39%. To increase proficiency, Kenosha has a program that works with students who are below grade level. In 2017, United Way recruited 74 tutors for their Readers Are Leaders program. This year they have 200 tutors. Not only that, but the program has expanded from its flagship location at McKinley Elementary to now being available at Wilson Elementary, Brass Community School, and Forest Park Elementary for the 2018-2019 school year, all in Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD).
Community members who have been tutoring this year have also been given a lot of support in being a part of this program. “Having been a mentor with KUSD for years it was surprising how different Readers Are Leaders is,” Bunny Stoops, another tutor, said. “I really appreciated the training handouts and found them useful when I went to the school.”
Now that we’re into the new school year, United Way’s Readers Are Leaders are looking for additional motivated individuals who have 40 minutes to spare during the week to volunteer with our kindergarteners, making sure they have the best start in learning to read. Kindergarten tutors will start in February, but applications for kindergarten tutors will be available now until Friday, January 4th, 2019, with training on January 21st.
How To Get Involved
Over the years, Kenosha County has been booming in different industries. From Amazon, Uline, Jockey, Snap-on Incorporated, Froedtert South, Kenall Manufacturing and so many more; there are many opportunities in a variety of fields for individuals to get a start in. According to a recent survey done by the Kenosha Area Business Alliance (KABA), the positions that companies identified as their most critical positions of need included positions like welders, maintenance repair, accountants, CNC operators, truck drivers and production planners. With multiple hospitals and health care facilities, there’s always a need for CNA’s and other positions in the health field.
What’s great about these positions is that many of them either offer training through hire or require qualifications that can easily be met through some postsecondary education at schools like Gateway Technical College that have programs for more labor intensive jobs. For example, Gateway has multiple apprenticeships where students can work for money and learn the skills they need for their career. They have a maintenance mechanic/maintenance repair apprenticeship where students over the course of four years can gain about 8,000 hours of on-the-job training with at a minimum 576 hours of paid related experience. The income outlook is between $14.50-35.27 hour salary. To be a part of this program, students have to be 18 years of age, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and be physically able to perform trade.
If a student is interested in working in the medical field where they can help those in need of care, Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) offers an incredible program to students at junior and senior level standing who want to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA) by taking the courses offered at Tremper and Indian Trail. KUSD made this program available due to a crisis and shortage of qualified workers in the healthcare field, the specific requirements in the nursing program, and because KUSD wants to promote Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs to help students earn a living wage. After course completion (3 credits) there is a $125 exam fee. Once completing and passing the exam, students receive their CNA certification from the state of Wisconsin and can then sign up for Youth Apprenticeship.
How to get involved