The “Covid Slide” is estimated to have caused a learning loss of nearly 50% from the ’19-’20 school year (NWEA, 2020). Children who are not reading at grade level by 4th grade are held back. Teachers don’t always have the time to do one on one guided reading sessions with struggling students. Nearly 30% of millennial volunteers say they would participate more often if there were easier ways to find opportunities and more flexibility.
Vello, our online tutoring program, pairs teams of passionate professionals with classrooms to provide guided reading support through a safe and secure digital setting. Together, students and volunteer tutors read e-books using super simple screen sharing and audio. Volunteers are able to do their weekly 30-minute tutor sessions from anywhere with a computer and internet access, making it easy to do without leaving their workspace. Students have 24/7 access to an extensive e-library for themselves and their family members.
The global spread of COVID-19 brought new challenges to an already strained public education system. Our team adjusted quickly during the initial weeks of the pandemic to assess the needs of our school and community partners through surveys and direct outreach. We worked with teachers and other stakeholders to transition together into a distance learning format, and maintain Vello 1:1 reading sessions where capabilities existed. The Digital Divide became more evident as learning moved away from the school setting. Vello was drastically impacted by the reality of the situation. Access to internet and individual devices inhibited students from engaging in vital learning capabilities, thus many local United Ways formed local plans to support device distribution and internet connectivity.
Vello supported distance learning from March to May and then launched a COVID-19 Summer Response to assess how a new Vello model outside of a traditional school setting would work going forward. The Pilot included participants from Phoenix, Philadelphia, and Regina, Saskatchewan in Canada. The new approach focused on developing best practices for virtual reading sessions anywhere a student or volunteer could be, while maintaining safety/security, reading outcomes, a positive experience with Vello’s functional elements, and scalability in the years ahead. Moreover, the Pilot positioned data outcomes against known Summer Slide research and the emerging research behind “Covid Slide” that is estimated to have caused a learning loss of nearly 50% from the ’19-’20 school year (NWEA, 2020).
As local United Ways prepare for the new school year and Vello’s role in the many learning environments, the new ‘Vello Distance Learning’ or ‘Vello Anywhere!’ approach will be the primary mode for delivery. Volunteers can be anywhere with an internet-connected device (as always), students can be anywhere with an internetconnected device and the new Vello App, and teachers are able to maintain progress monitoring and leverage resources provided by the Raz-Plus teacher suite.
CASS remains committed to ending homelessness by providing shelter, case management, housing services, and collaborative wraparound services to those most in need.
To date, nearly $3.1 million has been granted to 88 United Way nonprofit partners, serving more than 1.1 million individuals across the Valley.
Today, in partnership with Scholastic, School Readiness Kits are available to the public, ensuring all children, parents and teachers have access to tools and resources to achieve school readiness.
In a crisis or disaster, 211 is here to help every person in our community find food, pay bills and connect to other essential services. During the pandemic, our United Way promoted 211 Arizona as the number to call for COVID-19 help and questions.
Find ways this February to share the love of helping others while social distancing – It’s our way to show how much we “heart” you!
Over the last 95 years, partnerships have been at the heart of United Way’s approach to meeting its mission. Collaboration with community is the work of our organization, with some relationships enduring almost a century.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the socioeconomic inequities many students, families and neighbors face daily.
Celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. this month. Here are some activities you can do with your family to promote community, kindness, and equity.
Before the pandemic, the flow of goods coming and going was ongoing and easily manageable, but nothing could have prepared us for the vast amount of donations requested and received in response to COVID-19 and the impact on our community.
Did you know that there are actually three separate tax benefits that you may qualify for? We have made it simple by detailing these tax benefits.