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Springfield College Receives AmeriCorps Grant

Updated August 29, 2012

Springfield College has once again received support for its AmeriCorps program. This year will be the 16th year for this community service-focused initiative. A total of $1.5 million in cash and education awards over three years will be awarded by the Massachusetts Service Alliance. The College and local partners will provide match monies and in-kind contributions. In addition, a $140,000 grant from the Funder Collaborative for Reading Success (FCRS) brings the grand total of resources to $2.6 million for the three-year program benefiting Springfield youth.

The grant will support 60 Springfield College students per year who are selected to be AmeriCorps members, each contributing either 900 or 450 hours of community service in Springfield School programs, pre-kindergarten through high school.
The goal of the program is to increase academic engagement and success by working with at-risk students using targeted interventions to address risk factors for dropping out, such as poor literacy skills, low attendance, course failure, and behavioral or disciplinary issues.

AmeriCorps members will also recruit, train, and manage other student and community volunteers to provide additional support to at-risk students in the Springfield Public Schools. Members receive a modest living allowance and, upon completion of their service, earn education award funds that can be applied toward tuition or qualified student loans.

“The Student Success Corps model is based on programs and interventions that have been shown to improve early literacy skills and to effectively target low attendance, behavioral issues, and poor academic performance,” said Springfield College AmeriCorps Program Director Shannon Langone. “By using what we know works in a very intentional way, we can have a measurable impact on the academic success of youth in Springfield.”

Twelve of the 60 AmeriCorps members will serve as literacy tutors in six prekindergarten classrooms in Springfield, where they will implement an early literacy intervention model developed by the Minnesota Reading Corps.

The FCRS, whose goal is to strengthen and advance early literacy skill development in children from birth to age nine, is administered by the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.

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