The Sacred Heart Read With Me Ministry Reading Program
Sacred Heart Church, Palm Desert, California
Corner of Deep Canyon and Fred Waring Drive
Ministry Contact: Roberta Klein
Phone 760 346 6502 email (Roberta Klein)Robertaeklein@gmail.com
To provide assistance to children in the poorest geographic area of the desert so that they may develop to their maximum potential by learning how to read, comprehend and speak English and know that people care about them as individuals.
WHAT WE DO
English speaking volunteers of all faiths commit one half day a week to go to Mecca Elementary School to help children who live in homes where the primary language spoken is Spanish. The parents are from Mexico and work long hours in the fields and service industries. The parents speak little or no English but they want their children to learn. We volunteer in individual classrooms to carry out whatever assignment the teacher gives us. The teacher may want an individual volunteer to work with a specific child who will read to the volunteer. He or she then helps the child with pronunciation and comprehension, or the teacher may ask the volunteer to help a small group (four or five) children with their lesson plan, essentially doing the same thing-- assisting with reading, comprehension and pronunciation and of course, encouraging and complimenting the child for their efforts.
Children who have been here for only a short time struggle with English. Those who have been here for some time may be able to sight read and pronounce the words, but they often do not know the meaning or significance of what they have read. You, as an English speaking mentor help them understand what they have read by asking questions about what happened in that story or assignment. The emphasis is on learning to read, speak and understand English. You are the English speaking role model. You are also a mentor who is encouraging each child to learn about our world and develop to his or her maximum capacity. Your interest in each child and encouragement is a major reason for the success of this program.
HOW OFTEN DO WE GO TO THE SCHOOL
It is ideal if you can volunteer once a week in the same classroom and work with the same children. The children need consistency and glow from the attention of the volunteers. (A number of volunteers go more than once a week)
We all have things that arise in a given week, so if you are not able to go on your regular day or days, just communicate with your teacher. Your boss is the teacher. Just tell the teacher the days you are unable to attend and she or he will adjust. There are at least 20 children in each class (other than special ed) and your help is greatly valued by the teacher, the principal and the school district superintendent.
HOW DO WE GET THERE
The Superintendent of Schools of the Coachella Valley Unified School District, places high value on having English speaking volunteers in the classrooms. It has been demonstrated by increasing test scores how effective they are in helping the children become more fluent in English The school district provides the bus, fuel and insurance. A group of individual donors make a grant through the Desert Community Foundation of $15,000 to the school district to pay the drivers. The bus and driver are at Sacred Heart every school day Monday through Friday at 8:10 am to pick up the volunteers who are interdenominational and from all over the desert. We sign each volunteer in at the bus each day. The bus arrives at 8:00 am and leaves promptly at 8:20 am. It gets to the school at approximately 9:00 am. If you take the bus you will be picked up at the school at 11:00 am and returned to the church parking lot before noon.
Some people drive themselves or car pool because they live closer or want to stay longer. We will give you a map if you would like to do that. If you drive please go into the school office each day and sign in. The school needs to know the names of everyone on the campus. Those who take the bus are signed in at the bus and can go directly to the classroom.
HOW DO I GET INVOLVED
Just come to the church between 8:00 am and 8:15 am, on the day of the week you would like to volunteer, sign in, get on the bus and go to the school. Register at the school by filling out the school volunteer form. Print your name, address and phone number carefully. This is the information for the school and for us to communicate with you.
IS THERE A GROUP ORIENTATION MEETING
During the first week of November 1, 2, 5,6,7,8,9 there will be a group orientation meeting each day at the school for new volunteers. Experienced volunteers will go in register and get classroom assignments. Mr. Alvarez, the school principal will bring us up to date on the changes at school and will answer questions. Experienced volunteers can then go to directly to their assigned classrooms. New volunteers will receive a formal orientation, decide how often they want to go and on what days, get an assignment and then go to their assigned classrooms for a brief time on their first day. . If you cannot go the first seven school day s in November, then on your first day as a volunteer this year go to the office, indicate whether you have volunteered before, after filling out the paper work, if you have volunteered in the past you will be assigned to a classroom and can go directly there. Noemi Guitron is the volunteer coordinator at the school If you are a first time volunteer you will register and receive a small group orientation and then be assigned to a classroom based on your preference of week day you wish to volunteer and grade level you would prefer to be involved with. There will be a second series of Group Orientations and additional training in mid January.
GETTING TO KNOW YOUR TEACHER
On your first day this year, please introduce yourself to the teacher and tell him or her how often you will be coming. Give the teacher your phone number or email address and ask for theirs. Ask what specific task they want you to do. It is difficult to chat in class so you may want to communicate by phone or email if you have other questions.
If you are not happy about the dynamics between yourself and the teacher or the students,
go to the school office and ask Noemi Guitron for reassignment to a different classroom. It is very important to the success of the program that this experience is beneficial to the children and that you individually have a meaningful experience.
DO WE HAVE IDENTIFICATION TAGS
After you register to volunteer for the current year an identification tag will be given to you. It is VERY important that you wear it whenever you are on campus.
WHEN DOES THE PROGRAM START AND STOP
Volunteers who drive can start as early as mid September and continue until the school year is over in early June. The bus transportation in 2012-2013 will be available from November 1 until the end of April on every day that school is in session.
HOW MANY SCHOOLS HAVE THIS PROGRAM
We at Sacred Heart are focusing on Mecca Elementary School. St Francis in La Quinta started the same program with volunteers going from their location to Las Palmitas School in Thermal which has the same demographics of student population as Mecca Elementary. The Palm Desert Presbyterian Church has the same program for The Oasis School.
HOW MANY VOLUNTEERS DO WE NEED
Ideally we would like to have at least one volunteer for each class room each day of the week. There are over 40 classrooms and some do not have volunteers. In some classes the teachers want more than one volunteer at a time because certain children need more individualized help..
HOW DO WE KNOW ABOUT SCHOOL HOLIDAYS
When you register to volunteer you will receive an information kit which will have the school address, telephone numbers, the lay-out of the classrooms, the teacher's names and a calendar of the school year with all school holidays listed. If your regular volunteer day falls on a holiday and you want to go out that week anyway, just tell your teacher you would like to help on a different day. Note that many school holidays occur on Monday.
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