Q: What is the Alexandria Tutoring Consortium (ATC)?
A: ATC is a nonprofit which partners with the Alexandria's faith community, the City of Alexandria, community organizations, businesses and the Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS). Through these groups, volunteers are recruited to serve as reading readiness tutors for ACPS kindergarteners and reading tutors for first graders. Many individuals volunteer who are not associated with any group. All tutoring supports the mission of ATC which is to have all students reading at or above grade level by the end of third grade. If you have a love of children, a love of reading and are dependable, we invite you to tutor with ATC.
Q: Are there any fees, references or background checks required?
A: No fees are charged and no references are required but YES, you are required to register with ATC by going to www.alexandriatutors.org to fill out ATC’s registration form which includes a link to a secure on-line ACPS site where you can fill out the ACPS Volunteer Application which, when submitted, triggers an automatic background check.
Q: What kind of tutoring does ATC provide?
A: Volunteers tutor first graders and kindergarten students who just barely passed Virginia's statewide reading test on the fall PALS test (Phonological Awareness and Literacy Screening.) The UVA Curry School of Education Book Buddies based program is used and all volunteers receive training and an orientation to the school before before they begin tutoring. For tutors of first graders in Book Buddies , lesson plans and materials targeted at your child's reading needs are provided. For tutors of kindergartners in Reading Readiness, goals and materials to use to reach those goals are provided.
Q: How does a tutor help ATC meet its commitment to each child?
A: ATC’s commitment to each child in the Book Buddies based and Reading Readiness programs is to provide two 30 minute sessions per week so that each child is tutored a minimum of 20 hours between fall and the end of May. Some volunteers tutor a child both sessions. Other volunteers team up with a friend or colleague to meet this commitment. ATC Coordinators can help arrange partners if that is needed.
In both the Book Buddies and Reading Readiness Programs you are expected to try to find a substitute if, for whatever reason, you cannot tutor. At the beginning of the tutoring year, your school's coordinator will explain how to handle finding a substitute.
Q: Which schools are served?
A: In 2015-16, schools with the Book Buddies based first grade program will likely be Charles Barrett, Cora Kelly, Douglas MacArthur, James K Polk, Jefferson-Houston, John Adams, Lyles-Crouch and Matthew Maury. Schools with the "Reading Readiness" kindergarten program are George Mason, John Adams, Matthew Maury, and Patrick Henry.
Whether you are a new or a returning volunteer, if you are interested in tutoring next year, we encourage you to click TUTORS in the menu at the top of the home page to fill out ATC’s registration form. When you click on submit, new volunteers should click on the link to the Alexandria City Public School Volunteer Application form to fill it out as well.
Q: How can I tell if I am helping my student?
A: Volunteers tutoring Book Buddies students receive regular feedback from the Coordinator who writes the lesson plans. Tutors can also gauge their student's reading progress by noticing the LETTER on the spine of the book their child is reading. A- D are kindergarten level books. As the child's literacy skills increase, the letters on the books move through the alphabet, letting you and your student know progress is being made.
Volunteers tutoring kindergarteners are given a notebook in which to track the letters, letter sounds and sight words the student has mastered as they begin to match spoken words with written ones and understand what Book Buddies calls the “Concept of Word”.
Q. What is the impact of ATC tutoring?
A: In 2013-14, 79% of 105 ACPS first graders who were tutored at least twenty 30-minute sessions during the school year met their grade level literacy benchmarks on the PALS (Phonological Awareness and Literacy Screening) test.
86%of students who participated in ATC Book Buddies program as 1st graders and were identified as reading on grade level in spring 2013 were also identified as reading on grade level as 2nd graders on the Spring 2014 PALS test.
104 kindergartners tutored in four elementary school’s Reading Readiness programs improved their recognition of upper and lower case letters and letter sounds and developed the ability to match a spoken word with the written word. 84% of the 79 kindergartners tutored at Patrick Henry, George Mason and Matthew Maury since early November reached their literacy benchmarks on the PALS test. 60% of 25 kindergartners tutored in a new program at John Adams since March 1 reached theirs.
Q: When does the tutoring begin and end?
A: Tutoring begins as soon as the reading skills of first graders and kindergarteners have been assessed, usually by mid-October. Once students are selected, tutoring begins and the schedule follows the school calendar on holidays, vacations and school closings, such as for snow days.
Q: How are tutors assigned to schools?
A. When volunteers fill out the ATC registration form (www.alexandriatutors.org), they may choose to tutor in any of the schools in which ATC has a program. Factors that may influence choice are: proximity to the tutor's home or work.
Q: If I tutor with a partner, do we need to meet with our student during the same time slot?
A: Yes. School coordinators work with the child's teacher and the tutor(s) to try to set a schedule and time that works for all concerned.
Q: What if I tutored last year and want to continue with the same student?
A: Given ATC’s focus on reading at grade level, we encourage tutors to take on another student rather than to continue with a previous student who has moved on to second or third grade. However, individual requests, especially if a tutor's student is still not reading at grade level, are taken into account.
Q: How do I sign up?