“Make it a rule never to give a child a book you would not read yourself.” – George Bernard Shaw
Pony Express Elementary of Saratoga Springs, some 20 miles away from the nearest university—and the volunteer tutoring programs that commonly come with them—recently found a new volunteer partner in Jive Communications and its employees.
While Jive provides Hosted VoIP service to many schools throughout the nation, Jive is also committed to helping students within the community. Many of Jive’s employees consider children and their education to be among the top priorities in our society today. For the past several months, Jive employees have been teaming up with United Way to provide tutoring to students at Pony Express Elementary. Students from 3rd and 6th grade been getting together with tutors from Jive, via videoconference, to receive assistance in reading and writing. For 30 minutes each week, Jive tutors work with students to develop skills through increasing words read per minute (wpm), and expanding their vocabularies to advance language ability.
The tutoring program is student-directed and initiated. Both student and tutor use skill-specific books accessed on Raz-Kids.com to study together. Raz-Kids.com boasts over 400 eBooks in fiction and non-fiction genres, so students can find and read something that interests them while they improve reading ability. In addition, there are a number of skill-specific exercises for students which assist in measuring progress in various other literacy skills. Students can work with one tutor constantly, or switch between different tutors.
The students are thrilled to have tutoring from Jive Communications. One of the sixth grade boys shared his enjoyment with the program, relating, “Paul (his tutor) is a really brave guy. He handles all the gross stuff like bugs and mummies we find in the books we read. He also tests me on sight words. I like grossing out my other tutor Janette with the same books. She doesn’t like that kind of stuff.”
A third grade student echoed the same satisfaction with the program, exclaiming, “I like tutoring! My tutor Darrell is nice. We go back and work on words that I miss. I like that I can see that I am moving on up in reading.”
Jive aims to help at least 50 of the students in need of tutoring and, with the support of generous employees, plans to donate over 1,000 hours to the cause this year.
Pony Express Elementary principal Viki Smith expressed her delight with Jive’s online tutoring program. “I’ve never seen anything that motivates the students as much as getting online and seeing their tutor,“ she says. “We’ve had more success with this than with our face-to-face tutoring.”
Jive is so excited to have opportunities to give back to the local community. Pony Express Elementary has helped Jive employees like Jonathan Timothy in their pursuits to donate time to worthy causes. “At times my position can be very time consuming,” he says, “so it’s been great to be able to participate in community service at the convenience of staying right at my desk. Thanks to modern technology I have been able to contribute to my student’s progress, which has been super rewarding.”