Aleina Hodnett is a teacher in Milwaukee Public Schools, where AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Seniors national service programs provide tutoring and mentoring.
“The students are always so excited to see the tutors walk through the door,” said Hodnett.
From tutoring and mentoring to afterschool programming, many AmeriCorps programs have long been engaged in a wide range of critical supports for students. AmeriCorps members and volunteers offer one-on-one and small group work during or after school and/or during the summer.
As detailed in the Department of Education’s COVID-19 Handbook Volume 2, these activities are critically important to help students get back on track. High-quality tutoring that occurs at least three times per week in close coordination with classroom instruction is an important tool for our classroom teachers. AmeriCorps members can fill those roles and help students recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and address their mental health, life skills, and academic needs.
“We are so grateful for the relationships they (AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps Seniors, and National Veteran Corps) build with our students,” said Brian Henry, superintendent, Waynesville R-VI School District (Missouri). He shared that these volunteers have a lasting, positive impact in schools across his district.
These members and volunteers support students as a part of grantee organizations awarded federal dollars from AmeriCorps to fund meaningful service activities. Some of those AmeriCorps programs require the local, organizations that oversee them to match a portion of AmeriCorps support with other funding. State education agencies, school districts, and others that receive ED grants or sub-grants can use ED funds to meet AmeriCorps matching requirements. This includes the recent COVID-19 pandemic relief funds, such as money received from the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief program, and other ED program funds.
Leveraging ED grants to meet AmeriCorps matching requirements can help states, school districts, and others establish or expand AmeriCorps programs to meet student needs or expand into underserved districts where services may have previously been out of reach.
“We are incredibly grateful to our AmeriCorps members who devote their time and effort to serve as mentors, helping students with math, reading and other knowledge they need to graduate ready for college and careers,” said Colorado Commissioner of Education Katy Anthes, “For many schools across Colorado, AmeriCorps is a vital partner in our mission to ensure equity and opportunity for every student, every step of the way.”
ED supports and encourages state and local partnerships with AmeriCorps programs, such as those outlined in the AmeriCorps toolkit for Leveraging National Service in Your Schools, to further reduce barriers to identifying the matching funds needed to create or expand AmeriCorps programs.
The process for using these funds to meet AmeriCorps matching requirements, is straightforward:
Grant recipients must meet other relevant requirements
The use of funds for the AmeriCorps-supported work must align with the ED program and a recipient’s approved ED grant application.
ED shared a letter to help districts and schools leverage these funds.
AmeriCorps and ED both aim to improve lives and expand access. Building local partnerships in schools is key to meeting these goals. By using these funds to multiply community access to AmeriCorps programs, more students will receive what they need.
To learn more about AmeriCorps programs, visit: Americorps.gov/grantees-sponsors