Riverside Central Elementary School Needs Volunteers Like YOU

Riverside is looking for more adults to listen to students read as a part of Rochester Public School’s Action 100 reading program.

What is our church’s connection? Church member, Ray Phelps-Bowman, current chair of the NAACP Education Committee, with his then co-chair, spent a year researching and visiting schools that had successfully closed the achievement gap between majority and minority students. They concluded that the one thing these schools had in common was that they paid very close attention to each student. According to Phelps – Bowman, “We asked ourselves, ‘What might we do here?'” After meeting with Amy Pierce, the coordinator of the Rochester School District’s Action 100 reading program at the time, the NAACP decided that the best path was to support the District’s existing reading program. “We came away convinced that if implemented correctly, the Action 100 program could close the gap,” said Phelps-Bowman. He asked for volunteers during a Racial Justice Task Group meeting at church, and eleven members of our congregation have spent the last year volunteering at the school.

Why Riverside School? Riverside is a community school. The school provides health and social services and community engagement at the site. “We are an elementary school located in the heart of Rochester near the government center. We have a wonderful, diverse population. Many of our students are bilingual,” shared Jody Peterson, Riverside’s Volunteer Coordinator.

What do reading volunteers do? Volunteers listen to students read books and talk with the students about their books. Students are expected to spend an hour a day reading. They should read 30 minutes at home and 30 minutes at school. However, some students need to do their 30 minutes of home reading at school because of circumstances beyond their control. This is why volunteers are so valuable.

What is the time commitment? Most volunteers dedicate an hour a week. Volunteers listen to one child read every fifteen minutes. The goal is to pair volunteers with the same students in order to build relationships.

How do you volunteer? Contact Riverside Volunteer Coordinator, Jody Peterson, directly, jopeterson@rochesterschools.org.