Posted September 26th, 2013 by Shalyn with No Comments
Thanks to you, our Open House Celebration last week was a huge success! Over 85 tutors, donors, and supporters attended the event – it was so nice to catch up with old friends and to see some new faces! In addition to touring the new space, our supporters attended an interactive presentation about our program and the challenges our kids face, created cards of encouragement for our students, and shared what they were passionate about for #PassionProject!
To make our debut even more exciting, Larry Blackerby from RTV6 stopped by our office to celebrate with us. In addition to touring the new space and meeting our volunteers and supporters, he presented a generous donation to School on Wheels on behalf of the Scripps Howard Foundation. Check out the news story from RTV6 below!
Thank you RTV6, the Scripps Howard Foundation, and all of you for attending the Open House and supporting our kids!
- Learn more about our move.
Posted August 14th, 2013 by Shalyn with No Comments
The summer iPad program at Barton Center was a huge success! Our students loved working on the iPads, and our tutors loved the program too! Here are some thoughts and reflections on the program by our tutors and parents, along with some photos taken by our students:
All children should be given the opportunity to work with technology, no matter their background, home life, or socioeconomic status because all children deserve to be given equal learning experiences. School on Wheels provides this opportunity for children that otherwise may not be given these resources. It is a wonderful way to teach ownership and responsibility while learning and having some fun too. I’m very grateful for the generous donations that have supported the purchasing of one iPad per student for the summer and equally grateful to School on Wheels for opening the doors for these phenomenal children. And what I truly am most grateful for is the incredible experience, memories, and relationships I have gained throughout my School on Wheels journey.
- Wesley Warren, SEAT program tutor
During the summer program, the kids got better at reading, learned a lot about animals and made some awesome art. Jason has become calmer and more respectful and I am using the ticket system to get the kids to do chores. They loved this program and had so much fun here. The best summer program they’ve been to.
- Jillian, Barton Center parent
I loved using the iPads and was amazed at how the kids knew what to do. They all loved taking pictures for the bingo board! The art program was fabulous. I love the Apeels and hope that they and School on Wheels continue their partnership. I thanked Holly last evening for helping me to bring out my inner artist. I feel kind of bad that I probably had as much (if not more) fun than the kids did with the art.
- Melissa Seibert, SEAT program tutor
I think the summer program was a great experience for both the students and me. Using the iPads helped us all gain knowledge and experience with them. Working with Talia was awesome…she was always such a big ball of energy, made me laugh, and definitely made the end of my day brighter! Some days were harder than others in keeping her focused; but she learned and made progress from using the iPad and Ticket to Read, and she was always so excited to show me her “toys” that she made with the program. She loved the art program with Dave and Holly! My favorite art project that I worked on with her was the superhero toy that she made – a British superhero (from Britain of course) with wings.
- Tricia SanNicholas, SEAT program tutor
I thought the summer SEAT program was awesome. The kids, the tutors and the parents all seemed to really enjoy the program. The kids got such a kick out of using the iPads that they didn’t even realized they were learning. The tutors were so great working with the students on the new iPad programs, which was different then tutoring during the school year. The “Club House” theme coupled with the ticket incentive program worked great. The students understood the expectations, rose to the occasion and behaved well! Both Amazon John’s animals and the art enrichment programs were great. I thought it was nice how that the parents and families could enjoy the animal program on Mondays. Overall I thought it was well organized and engaged the students throughout the entire program. You know it’s a success when the kids don’t want it to end. Let’s do it again next year!
- Ieva Grundy, Salvation Army Barton Center Program Coordinator
Posted July 10th, 2013 by Kurt Melin with No Comments
I started tutoring in January 2010 after being referred to School on Wheels by a friend. I saw tutoring as a great way for me to give back to the community in a way I hadn’t before – by giving my time. What I didn’t expect was that I would get as much out of it as the kids. Since I started tutoring, Tuesdays have gone from just another day on the calendar to my favorite day of the week. I look forward to going to the Julian Center each week and working with some of my favorite students. Nothing beats the look on a child’s face the moment they realize how to solve a problem that they didn’t understand going into the session or finishing a book they thought was too difficult.
Throughout my 3+ years as a School on Wheels volunteer, I have tutored at many different locations. Most of my experiences have been with emergency shelters, where students can stay from two weeks to two months. Tutoring this year at the Julian Center was my first opportunity to work with a student for the span of a school year. Throughout the year, I got to know and work with one girl in particular – a kindergartner named Sarah. When we started working together in the fall, Sarah had a hard time sitting still and listening for more than five minutes at a time. By the end of the year, we could get through a whole hour of tutoring and her spelling and reading had improved drastically. Being able to see Sarah’s development throughout the school year while building a bond with her solidified for me that the time I spend tutoring is worth every minute.
To anyone thinking about becoming a School on Wheels tutor, I promise that you will get as much out of it as you put in. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made and can’t wait for tutoring to start back up in the fall.
Kurt Melin, 2012-13 Tutor of the Year
Join Kurt and over 400 other tutors to make a difference in a homeless child’s life. Become a School on Wheels tutor today!
Posted June 26th, 2013 by Kate with No Comments
School on Wheels has been incredibly fortunate to have worked with AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) members throughout the past three years. These volunteers have selflessly assisted in launching new programs, developing processes, streamlining technology and building the capacity of the organization. They have collectively volunteered over 20,000 hours and have help raised tens of thousands of dollars to further the School on Wheels’ vision of breaking the cycle of homelessness through education.
As we complete our term with AmeriCorps, we would like to thank Nick Betzner, Alex Keys, Samantha Breeling and Shalyn Getz for their exceptional year of service to School on Wheels and recognize the impact they’ve achieved! We wish Alex and Nick well as they leave School on Wheels for other opportunities.
We are thrilled to announce that Samantha Breeling and Shalyn Getz are joining School on Wheels as staff members. As the organization’s Volunteer Coordinator, Samantha will be responsible for managing volunteer programs, communication and trainings. Shalyn will be working as the Programs and Communications Specialist, providing programmatic support, serving as a Program Coordinator at one tutoring site and creating content for social media.
Please join us in thanking all of our VISTAs and welcoming Samantha and Shalyn to the School on Wheels team!
Kate Hussey, Senior Vice President, School on Wheels
Posted May 23rd, 2013 by Karen with No Comments
Last year, I was honored with the Runner-Up National Teacher of the Year award, presented by Toyota Motor Corporation and the National Center for Family Literacy. I traveled to San Diego to receive the award and present to the conference attendees about the work we do at School on Wheels.
I was honored once again last month when the National Center for Family Literacy asked me to come to their conference in Louisville to lead a session on “Connecting with the Toughest to Reach.” Not only did I share with a national audience the amazing things that are happening at School on Wheels, but I also had the opportunity to learn new ideas for educating children and engaging parents in the process.
As I reflect on my days in Louisville, here are some great lessons I learned.
• The Common Core Standards work to support students before they struggle. There are some basic vocabulary words within each discipline that all students should know in order to succeed. For example, in science, all sixth-grade students should know the meaning of words like aquatic, atmosphere, density, and revolution. Look for lists of these “Academic Vocabulary” words at tutoring next year!
• I learned about some outstanding educational opportunities for students on iPads. Many apps and sites will be available in the coming school year for our students. Look for workshops in the winter to help you work with students on iPads.
• To engage parents, ask them not only what their child is struggling with, but also what their child does well. What are her hobbies? What does he like to do in his spare time? What is she really good at? We are going to incorporate these questions in our intake process next year, and we will share the answers with our tutors.
• Always keep an open mind and be ready to learn from our students. As Reverend Brenda Girton-Mitchell of the United States Department of Education said during her presentation, “My right hand holds the hand of someone who knows less than me, and I teach. My left hand holds the hand of someone who knows more than me, and I learn.” I’ve learned so much from our students. I hope you are learning, too!
The National Center for Family Literacy conference was an incredible experience. During the final day, author James Patterson spoke during the closing session. Afterwards, he signed copy of his newest bestseller. As I stood in line, I was in awe of a person who has touched so many with a love for literacy. When it was my turn to talk to Mr. Patterson, he told me HE was in awe of ME and what we all do at School on Wheels! What an honor!
I know that I could never do this great work without the support of an amazing staff, invested donors and dedicated volunteer tutors. So, thank you for inspiring me each day to constantly learn, grow and provide rich opportunities for our kids. To have the opportunity to work with inspiring children, caring volunteers, and amazing co-workers each week is a dream come true.
Program Manager at School on Wheels