Martha Stuemky, Porterville Unified School District Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services, and Tara Warren, AmeriCorps Program Director, enthusiastically discussed an AmeriCorps grant recently received by PUSD that will consist of AmeriCorps Fellows who will be instructing 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students from 10 elementary schools in reading and math and social emotional learning for year.
The program is part of Building Community, Changing Lives. Trained AmeriCorps members will provide academic intervention and mentoring services for nearly 1,600 PUSD students in grades three to five currently scoring below proficiency standards. By addressing both the academic and underlying social-emotional learning needs, learning will be accelerated.
The district will be needing approximately 70 AmeriCorps Fellows by August/September 2020.
PUSD Superintendent Nate Nelson met with Tulare County Office of Education Superintendent Tim Hire, and they saw opportunity and need for the AmeriCorps grant of more than $1 million for California’s Central Valley specifically.
The time allotted to receive the grant was slim, but with some extra help by grant writer Suzanne Terrill, PUSD received it.
People who are interested in the program must be 18 years of age or older, preferably 18 - 25, but there really is no age limit. Even grandparents or retired school teachers can apply. Everyone who applies needs to go through a background check.
AmeriCorp Fellows will be given a cost of living stipend, and at the end of their year of service they will be eligible for an education award consisting of $4336,50, that can be utilized toward tuition or used to pay off student loans.
“That education award is a guarantee that adult students or AmeriCorps Fellows will continue their education,” said Stuemky.
“I am very excited about this program,” said Warren, “it will do a lot of good in our elementary schools.”
Once established, PUSD will keep applying for the AmeriCorps grant which comes from both the state and the federal government according to Stuemky.
“Both AmeriCorps and California Volunteers will be working together and supporting educational goals. So we have a great start with the grant.”
Those interested in becoming an AmeriCorp Fellow in the program should call Warren, 359-2068.