All Students Matter expands support for building literacy skills among Ravenswood students

by Parke Treadway on September 10, 2019

Improving literacy skills is a top priority for Ravenswood City School District, as those skills are critical for reading, writing, and common core math. Local volunteer organization All Students Matter supports Ravenswood students in building literacy, with about 200 volunteers set to work with Ravenswood teachers in East Palo Alto and eastern Menlo Park this year.

The most recent data available, from the California state testing in spring of 2018, shows 24% of students in Ravenswood were proficient in reading, compared to 84% in neighboring Menlo Park City School District and 82% in Palo Alto Unified School District. As the Ravenswood district continues to find ways to help more students reach proficiency in reading, the partnership with All Students Matter is a key component of that goal.

The organization has two programs which are helping to increase the number of students who are reading at or above grade level. ASM’s core program of in-classroom support provides an average of three volunteers for each teacher in Transitional Kindergarten through 5th grade in the five Ravenswood elementary schools. Volunteers visit the same classroom each week throughout the school year, building relationships with teachers and students. The results of the annual teacher survey show that 100% of responding teachers believe the All Students Matter classroom volunteers are improving both the academic skills and the self-confidence of their students.

ASM’s program of targeted literacy intervention supports the district’s Literacy Coaches by offering specialized support for students who are struggling with reading. This program is entering its second year and expanding as the district doubles its number of teachers working as Literacy Coaches. To magnify the impact of the district’s program, each Literacy Coach receives ten hours of volunteer support weekly from All Students Matter. The volunteers are specially trained to mirror the coach’s approach and support the specific literacy goals established at each school.

The results for students who have graduated from the intervention program show significant improvement in literacy skills and improved social-emotional development. Teachers are grateful for the extra support.

“I have been very fortunate to work with an extremely dedicated group of volunteers,” says Bronwyn Alexander, a former Literacy Coach at Belle Haven School. “The students in this program have an average of a full year’s growth in just 12 weeks! The work the volunteers do is invaluable.”

“Literacy is the foundation of every single subject elementary school students need to master, including math,” says says All Students Matter Program Director Keri Tully. “Without this core skill, students face a tremendous handicap. The majority of the students come from families where English is a second language and they frequently begin school without preschool experience. All Students Matter is dedicated to helping all students improve both their literacy skills and self-confidence.”

All Students Matter is gearing up for the current school year and looking for new volunteers. Volunteers who join now can attend trainings being held on September 11 and 12 and begin in classrooms shortly thereafter. Sign up online to volunteer.

Photos by Irene Searles courtesy of All Students Matter

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