elementary school principals say they welcome Experience Corps in
their schools primarily because it boosts their bottom line –
student academic achievement.
Nine out of 10 urban elementary school principals surveyed by Policy
Studies Associates say that the presence of Experience Corps in
their schools substantially improves student academic performance,
increases students’ readiness to learn, and positively affects
students’ self-confidence and attitude toward school.
coping with the press of ever-rising academic expectations and administrative
challenges, have no time for programs that do not serve their purposes,”
notes the Policy Studies Associates report. “Experience Corps
has won their allegiance and respect.”
Corps is a national service program for Americans over 55. Today,
its 1,500 members serve as tutors and mentors in elementary schools
in 13 cities – Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland, Indianapolis,
Kansas City, Minneapolis, New York City, Philadelphia, Port Arthur
(Texas), Portland (Oregon), San Francisco, and Washington DC.
Johnson, principal at Dallas Nicholas Elementary School in Baltimore,
is convinced of the program’s benefits. “Experience
Corps members contributed substantially to an improvement in first
grade reading scores through one-on-one reading, encouragement,
and making the 100 Book Challenge possible,” she says. “In
addition, there is a big difference in school atmosphere and climate
as a result of the program. Last year, I saw a decrease in office
referrals for inappropriate behavior from 117 to 56, due to Experience
Corps’s presence in our school.”
“When principals say our members play a crucial role in their
students’ academic success,” says Experience Corps CEO
John Gomperts, “that’s music to my ears. As I travel
the country, I hear positive things from principals I meet, but
it’s crucial for us to know, from independent evaluations,
that Experience Corps makes a demonstrable difference.”
Other highlights from the survey include:
Nearly all principals – 99% – are satisfied with Experience
Corps, with 74% of them saying they are “extremely satisfied.”
91% report that Experience Corps provides significant support
for attainment of academic standards.
Three out of four principals say Experience Corps provides significant
benefits to students’ classroom participation, behavior,
Nine out of 10 principals say Experience Corps has a big impact
on student attitudes toward older adults.
Nine out of 10 principals say Experience Corps improves the overall
Principals say Experience Corps is better than other school-based
volunteer programs in several key areas.
- 87% say its members are more reliable.
- 83% say it provides more intergenerational benefits.
- 73% say it provides better coordination.
- 69% say it provides better team structure.
- 67% say it provides better program design.
As Mamie Keith, principal at Franklin Elementary School in Kansas
City, notes: “Experience Corps members help me reach my goals
by working one-on-one with students to bring them up to grade level
in reading. They do an excellent job in building students’
skills and confidence in reading.”
Gomperts, Experience Corps CEO, sums up the program’s benefits
this way: “By combining a vital resource – Americans
over 55 – with a critical need – kids who need one-on-one
attention to succeed – Experience Corps provides benefits
to the students, the older adults, the schools and our communities.
It’s a win-win-win.”
Policy Studies Associates, an independent research and evaluation
organization specializing in studies of education improvement, was
commissioned by Experience Corps last fall to do an independent
survey of principals in elementary schools where Experience Corps
Experience Corps… new adventures in service