Monday, August 24, 2015

AmeriCorps struggling to get reading tutors

As the school year gets underway, there is an urgent need for reading tutors in Monterey County. AmeriCorps Monterey County United for Literacy is seeking tutors to read with students at schools in Salinas, Soledad, King City and Greenfield.

Jamie Valenzuela-Mumau, assistant superintendent for educational services, said there are still eight positions left to be filled -- out of 30. Four of those positions are in the Alisal Union School District, three in Soledad, and one in King City.

Tutors serve at least 40 hours a week, providing one-on-one or small group reading instruction to students in kindergarten through fourth grade. Tutoring sessions take place during and after school.

The program begins September 1, 2015 and runs for 11 months, ending July 31, 2016.

Valenzuela-Mumau said the program struggles to find candidates every year, and he believes it could be due to the size of the allowance -- $13,000 a year is not much. And the teacher shortage is probably not helping.

"We’re just looking for people qualified and willing to do the help," he said. "But it also sheds light (on the fact that) finding good people to work with our kids is difficult, not just in Monterey County but across the state."

AmeriCorps members receive a monthly living stipend of $1,210  for 11 months, a Segal Education Award of $5,550 upon successful completion of 1,700 tutoring hours, and student loan forbearance while serving.

Applicants must have graduated from high school or received a GED certificate. A Bachelor’s or Associate's Degree is preferred. Experience working with children or in education is helpful, although tutors will receive training and orientation.

AmeriCorps Monterey County United for Literacy is a program operated by the Monterey County Office of Education. The program’s mission is to enable Monterey County children to read well and independently by the end of the third grade so they can read to learn in the fourth grade and beyond.

Candidates may submit an application by visiting the program website here or here. Email Ginny Brown at for further information.

* This post was updated on Aug. 25 to include comments from  Jamie Valenzuela-Mumau.

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