Springfield School Volunteers

Daily Point of Light # 1116 May 14, 1998

The Springfield School Volunteers (SSV) is a network of more than 3,000 volunteers who provide numerous services to the Springfield Public Schools. The volunteers include parents, retirees, college and high school students, and professionals. They serve as tutors, mentors, Community Service Learning volunteers, and School-to-Work volunteers to help ensure that each child attains a high level of academic achievement in a safe and supportive environment. The program was started by the school district in 1968 out of the need for an organized structure of community service volunteers and has been expanding ever since, developing new and innovative programs.

Different activities the SSV volunteers serve in are programs making math fun, reading aloud, tutoring homeless children, summer work and learn partnerships, mentoring, a living history program in which senior citizens speak to classes, and the nationally recognized Community Service Learning and School-to-Work programs.

The SSV also has several corporate partnerships that participate in several different activities, including a Read Aloud Program, book donations, and the Fun with Math Program, sponsored by MassMutual Insurance.

According to a survey of teachers, test scores have consistently gone up, school violence has gone down, enrollment has gone up in after-school and weekend programs, overall attendance has gone up, and drop-out rates have decreased.

The Springfield School Volunteers program receives 72% of its funding from the school district, 17% from corporate and business donations, and 11% from federal and foundation grants. The Community Service Learning program receives half of its funding from Learn and Serve America and half from in-kind contributions from the school district. Administrators of the program do training for other community school districts setting up similar programs.