Inspiring Minds focuses much of its efforts on our youngest students because reading proficiently by the end of third grade is a crucial indicator of a child’s development. Students who read by third grade are more likely to perform well in other subjects, and those who do not read at grade level in third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.
Governor Raimondo has set a goal to double the third-grade reading proficiency by 2020. Rhode Island’s economy demands that more children be on track to be proficient readers. The current pool of qualified high school graduates is neither large enough nor skilled enough to supply our nation’s workforce, higher education, leadership and national security needs. Every student who does not complete high school costs an estimated $260,000 in lost earnings, taxes and productivity.
How do we help? Developmental Relationships are the key. In each of our programs, our volunteers build a natural mentoring relationship. Inspiring Minds trains its volunteers in the Search Institute’s Developmental Relationships Framework. By expressing care, challenging growth, providing support, sharing power, and expanding possibilities, our volunteer tutor/mentors empower our students to succeed.
In-school tutoring and mentoring is the largest and longest running program at Inspiring Minds. In-school tutor/mentors work as in-class supports for students who have been identified as at-risk or in need of intervention by school faculty.
We train approximately 500 tutors-mentors each year. Many of our volunteers return year after year because of the strong relationships they build with the students and teachers in our public schools.
Power Lunch is a mentoring program that matches groups of volunteers from the public and private sector one-to-one with elementary school children, to encourage students to develop a love of school through shared experiences with caring individuals.
KidsBridge is a free six-week summer experience for rising kindergartners with little to no preschool experience. KidsBridge prepares kindergarteners for their new roles as kindergarten students. Students attend school for six hours per day, five days per week and adjust to the routines and procedures of kindergarten to help them transition into school. The program is taught by certified, experienced teachers with support from Providence’s high school workforce and trained community volunteers.
The Kindergarten Project
The Kindergarten Project partners college students with Kindergarten classrooms to bring individualized attention to the Kindergarten students and provides an in-school experience to aspiring teachers and youth development workers enrolled in one of Rhode Island’s higher education programs. The partnership reduces ratios in the Kindergarten classroom 2 hours a day, resulting in increased student proficiency levels in the classroom.
Breakfast Buddies connects a child who can benefit from a one-on-one relationship with a positive role model who can inspire and motivate them to dream big and set goals for positive growth. This happens through consistent weekly sessions with their adult “buddy” over breakfast in the Charles N. Fortes Elementary School cafeteria. Mentors are invited to meet with a selected group of Kindergarten students on one regularly scheduled day per week. Buddies will come prepared with a book to read and be expected to help children with their breakfast routines.”