Achievement Connections

Achievement Connections

Achievement Connections pairs UW–Madison students and other community volunteer tutors with area high schoolers to engage students in learning while they continue to develop productive study skills.

Volunteers tutor one-on-one in algebra or geometry with a high school student at either West, East, LaFollette, James Madison Memorial or Middleton high schools. These volunteers commit around two hours per school week, one hour on two different days at the same time, between 8:00 am to 4:30pm.

Due to this consistency, tutors and students have the potential to build positive relationships. Tutors receive comprehensive training to ensure preparedness. This is a great opportunity for tutors to partner with local communities and join a successful team of volunteers who engage students in learning.

Achievement Connections is a partnership between United Way of Dane CountyAmeriCorpsMadison Metropolitan School DistrictMiddleton Cross Plains Area School District and the Morgridge Center for Public Service.

During tutoring sessions, volunteers provide students with guidance in algebra or geometry, provide support in the utilization of productive study skills, and encourage methods of organization to promote academic success.

Contact Achievement Connections Campus Coordinator Leah Larsons at ac@morgridge.wisc.edu if you are interested in learning more and joining a successful team of tutors.

In-Person Volunteer Expectations

  • Tutor twice a week for 1 hour on alternating days between the hours of 8:00am – 4:30pm.
  • All in-person MMSD and/or MCPS volunteers are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Exceptions can be made only for religious or health reasons.  
  • Wear masks while tutoring in-person/on-site with your student.
  • Complete a background check through the MMSD and/or MCPS background check portal.
  • Attend a New Tutor Orientation hosted by the Morgridge Center and the Achievement Connections Campus Recruiter.
  • New Achievement Connections Volunteer Tutors are required to attend at least one education session. Education sessions are one-hour presentations and discussions that deepen the context of your service. 

Virtual Volunteer Expectations

  • Tutor twice a week for 1 hour on alternating days between the hours of 8:00 am – 4:30pm.
  • Complete a background check through the MMSD and/or MCPS background check portal.
  • Attend a New Tutor Orientation hosted by the Morgridge Center and the Achievement Connections Campus Recruiter.
  • New Achievement Connections Volunteer Tutors are required to attend at least one education session. Education sessions are one-hour presentations and discussions that deepen the context of your service. 

Equity

  • We speak openly about the opportunity gaps in our community 
  • We provide opportunities and spaces for dedicated community members to learn about and act against inequities where they live

Growth & Learning

  • We educate ourselves to become more effective, engaged members of society 
  • We are committed to learning and exploring our potential
  • We cultivate a growth-centered environment where we reflect thoughtfully on our experiences 

Connectedness

  • We root ourselves in the Dane County community and strive to understand the context of those we serve and partner with 
  • We create an environment of well-being by showing up for each other 
  • We bring people from all walks of life together around common purposes

Help students improve their sense of belonging, self-image, and engagement in learning.

  • Confidence fuels academic, as well as professional, growth and results in a student feeling more connected to their learning environment and high school. Our idea is that if their engagement in learning has improved as a result of tutoring, they’ll be more excited about learning. Our space is special because in it, students are able to be heard as individuals, and to control their learning. 

Help students improve their math skills and performance

  • We want to increase the number of students passing algebra by 10th grade in order to help students be on track for graduation. We also want students to deepen their understanding of class content, and become independent learners, so they can take the study skills they learn with us and apply them in other classes, and later in life.

Achievement Connections Continued Learning

Reflection
Reflection is a large part of service-learning. Volunteer tutors are recommended to complete pre, during, and post-service reflection. You can think about these prompts before entering a session or keep an on-going journal. Reflection facilitates the understanding that service is more than just logging hours.

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Benefits of Service-Learning Reflection

  • You better understand and evaluate your experience
  • Future performance is improved
  • Strengths and weaknesses can be recognized and addressed
  • Your understanding and perspective of the world is expanded
  • You are better prepared to use this experience and what you learned for future interviews
  • If you share your experiences/reflection, it allows this program to evolve and grow

Pre-Service Reflection

  • What are your expectations for the service-learning project?
  • What do you hope to accomplish?
  • What do you expect to learn?
  • What community needs does Achievement Connections address? Why do these needs exist in our community?
  • What are you most nervous/excited about?

During Service Reflection

  • Why does Achievement Connections exist?
  • How do you feel about the work you are doing?
  • What difference does your service make to this program?
  • What difference does your service make to the Dane County community?
  • Is this experience what you thought it would be? If not, how does it differ?
  • What is the most difficult or satisfying part of your work? Why?

Post-Service Reflection

  • Go back to what you thought in your pre-service reflection: how have your responses changed? 
  • Was your experience what you thought it would be? What was most surprising? What was the most challenging?
  • What did you learn about others from this experience? What did you learn about yourself?
  • What did you learn from the disappointments or the successes?
  • What specific skills did you use? What new skills did you learn?
  • What impact did this experience have on you?
  • How have environmental and social conditions affected the students served by Achievement Connections?
  • Do you believe that your service made a difference? Why or why not?
  • What did you do that seemed effective? What did you do that seemed ineffective?
  • What community problems did you become aware of as a result of your volunteer tutoring? What can you do about these problems?
  • How were your values expressed through your work with Achievement Connections?
  • What types of situations made you feel uncomfortable when you were volunteering with Achievement Connections? Why was that the case?
  • How has your opinion of the students of Dane County changed as a result of your service-learning experience?
  • Do you want to continue your involvement with Achievement Connections? If yes, why? If no, why not?
  • Complete this sentence: “Because of my service-learning experience, I am …”

Education Components
Our program is always expanding and learning and we hope our volunteers do the same. Each volunteer is required to attend at least one Education Session and fill out a Reflection Form which acts as attendance. Education Sessions and Workshops will count towards work-study hours.

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Education Session Theme

  • Workshops focus on themes of identity development, intersectionality, anti-oppression, asset-based community development and pathways of civic engagement. 
  • We recommend you attend one of these workshops after attending your New Tutor Orientation but before you are matched with a student.

How to Register and Attend Sessions

  • Internal sessions are planned by the MCPS Community Engagement Team. You can register for an internal education session via a qualtrics link sent out by the Campus Recruiter at the beginning of the semester. 

Your attendance will be tracked by the completion of the Reflection Form

Buddy System

  • A voluntary circle of new volunteers and returning volunteers where new tutors are matched with a returning tutor. The returning tutor will help answer questions based on their own tutoring experiences and guide the new tutor towards reaching their full potential within our program. 
  • If you are interested in participating in the Achievement Connection Buddy System please reach out to the Achievement Connections Campus Recruiter.

More Information and FAQs

Connect
You can sign up to receive Morgridge Mail, our weekly newsletter which includes volunteer opportunities, events, jobs and internships.

Learn more about Achievement Connections through the United Way website.

Contact
Contact Achievement Connections Campus Recruiter Leah Larson

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Can I access my students' course materials before tutoring?

Yes! Achievement Connections provides volunteer tutors with notes from the classes, homework, and tests for the students you work with. Ways to access the course material varies by school site.

Can I get paid?

Achievement Connections is a Work-Study eligible program. Federal Work-Study is not a grant or loan but a portion of your Financial Aid package that is set aside for you to earn at a job. You can learn if you are eligible for a Work-Study program by viewing your Financial Aid package in your Student Center.

Part-time AmeriCorps positions can be available to interested parties. Qualified individuals will receive a bi-weekly stipend (not hourly) and after the completion of the required number of hours, can be eligible for an education award. 

Both of these options require in-person tutoring and a greater hour commitment than our volunteer positions. If you are interested in pursuing either of these options please contact the Achievement Connection Campus Recruiter and specify which option you are interested in.  

We always accept volunteers if neither of these “paid” options works for you.

How do I get to my school site?

Achievement Connections provides logistical support, including transportation. Volunteer Tutors can walk, use their ASM-provided city bus pass, or sign up for a BCycle membership paid for by Achievement Connections.

If a school site is over a 35-minute bus ride, Achievement Connections will provide transportation via Lyft, ZipCar, Union Cab, and UW fleet vehicles. Please note, the time listed for volunteer hours does not account for transportation to and from the site. Make sure your schedule can accommodate extra time before and after volunteering. 

Please reach out to the Achievement Connections Campus Recruiter with any questions or concerns.

What if I can’t volunteer with Achievement Connections this semester?

No worries! The Morgridge Center has peer advisors who will help connect you to other volunteer opportunities that match your interests. 

If you are interested in volunteer tutoring at a later date, you can also fill out this form to inform the Achievement Connections Campus Recruiter when you would be available to tutor and/or when you would like to be reached out to.

Additional Resources