Project Start/End: November 2017 - November 2018
Milwaukee has the worst residential segregation between Whites and African Americans in the nation. With a population 600,000, Milwaukee is 40% African American, whereas the three (3) surrounding counties are 2% African American and 95% White. In a study comparing 16 similar metro areas, Milwaukee has among the lowest median incomes for African American and Hispanic households, whereas non-Hispanic White households earn more than twice as much. It is no surprise that poor educational outcomes follow the backdrop of segregated poverty. You have the opportunity to become part of the solution through a position at Milwaukee Succeeds, an initiative of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation (GMF).
GMF focuses on four (4) impact areas: strengthening education, strengthening neighborhoods, increasing economic opportunities and promoting racial equity and inclusion. In order to put a focus on strengthening education, GMF created Milwaukee Succeeds, a collective impact initiative. Milwaukee Succeeds is a broad-based community partnership of parents, educators, businesses, philanthropy, faith communities and nonprofits that joined together in 2011 to focus on ensuring educational success for all of Milwaukee’s children. We are a student-centered community initiative.
We know reading is fundamental to success of our children; therefore, a primary focus of Milwaukee Succeeds is improving reading proficiency. A key benchmark in reading is a child’s proficiency level by third grade. The adage is that until third grade a child learns to read, so that after third grade a child reads to learn. Three quarters of children that are not reading proficiently by third grade fail to catch up by the time they complete high school. In the 2014-15 academic year, 26% of Milwaukee third graders scored proficiently on state exams, whereas statewide, 52% scored proficiently. This is why the level of reading in Milwaukee is alarming and improvement is crucial.
Milwaukee Succeeds has worked with our partners at the universities, choice, charter and Milwaukee Public Schools, as well as providers for experiential opportunities and parental engagement, to formulate a model using data-driven decision making to create 2,000 more joyful readers by 2020.
Milwaukee Succeeds has identified strategies, collectively referred to as Transformative Reading Instruction (TRI), for improving third grade reading outcomes. The VISTA will help us to address two challenges: 1) Taking those strategies to scale by improving processes for coordinating with sites, and 2) helping to transfer the ownership of the strategies to school systems.
Project Objective #1
Project manage the scaling of Transformative Reading Instruction (TRI). TRI is operational in 21 public, private and choice schools, with a plan to ramp up to 50 schools by 2020. Once TRI is implemented in 50 schools, it will provide direct service to 6,000 K-2nd graders each year and fill the pipeline to create 2,000 more proficient readers by third grade.
Develop and update charters, roles and responsibilities, and action plans. Demonstrate progress on deployment of action plan that is on-time and on-scope. Project Management tools and techniques will be transferred to the VISTA from the supervisor, who is a Project Management and Process Improvement professional.
Project Objective #2
Ensure fidelity to the TRI model. It is not enough to scale TRI, we must also ensure fidelity to the model with such measures as the amount of foundational reading and social-emotional development children receive per school day. We have partnered with the University of Wisconsin to evaluate the efficacy of TRI. The VISTA will have full access to the evaluative reports and the school liaisons.
Standardize and improve a shared tool to track implementation of the TRI components at each of the sites for 2017-18 school year and to track readiness of implementation for sites identified for 2018-19. Work with the site liaisons to utilize the tool which will facilitate successful implementation. The VISTA will also work with the site liaisons to gather reading scores to track TRI success.
Project Objective #3
A part of the TRI model is Parent Engagement, which provides parents skills to encourage their children to read. The VISTA will develop an improved process for engaging parents.
The process will include working with schools and community members to identify the best ways to engage parents. The VISTA will pilot parent engagement strategies.
Project Objective #4
Another part of the TRI model is 1:1 tutoring for children in order to provide personalized skill development in the areas a child needs help. The VISTA will develop and implement practices and strategies to aid in recruitment of volunteers who wish to deliver 1:1 reading fundamental instruction to children. Help build capacity and run the volunteer program.
Learn the basics of Reading Fundamentals with our Literacy Expert. Work with our partners, such as United Way, to recruit volunteer tutors. Replicate successful tutoring programs to schools across Milwaukee. Help run the operations of the volunteer tutoring program by doing activities such as preparing monthly attendance charts, participating in parent nights and helping to administer tests with the Literacy Expert.
Project Objective #5
In order to continue scaling TRI, fundraising is required. Milwaukee Succeeds enjoys a strong and organized Funding Collaborative, so there are phenomenal resources at our fingertips. Bader Philanthropies, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Herb Kohl Charities, Northwestern Mutual Foundation and United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County have formed a funders’ collaborative committed to support Milwaukee Succeeds.
The VISTA will work with the Funding Collaborative to develop and support funding strategies. Activities will include organizing visits to schools to feature TRI to funders, grant-writing and project management of the funding activities.
Project Objective #6
Communication to the community is a key factor in success of Milwaukee Succeeds. United Way is a strong partner and there will be a Community Outreach Coordinator VISTA as well. Milwaukee Succeeds regularly meets with its Leadership Council and Executive Committee, with members such as the Mayor, Superintendent and key philanthropic, educational and corporate leadership in our community.
Prepare and present to appropriate groups. Support and facilitate media communications (Example: Milwaukee’s Formula for Early Grade Reading).
Click on Application Instructions to apply.
Program Benefits: Onsite Fitness Center, Childcare Assistance (if eligible), Health Coverage*, Choice of Education Award or End of Service Stipend, Relocation Allowance, Living Allowance, Training
Terms: Permits working at another job during off hours, Car recommended, Permits attendance at school during off hours
* Visit http://www.vistacampus.gov/healthcare for details about AmeriCorps VISTA healthcare benefits
About AmeriCorps VISTA: AmeriCorps VISTA is a National Service Program operated by the Corporation for National and Community Service. VISTA’s mission is to bring individuals and communities out of poverty. Members make a year-long, full-time commitment to serve on a specific project at a nonprofit organization or public agency. They focus their efforts to build the organizational, administrative and financial capacity of organizations. Click HERE to learn more about the AmeriCorps VISTA Program.