Williamson County students are back in school, which means Raise Your Hand (RYH) after-school tutoring will soon return to the classroom.

The program, an education initiative through United Way of Williamson County, returns Sept. 11 and needs volunteer tutors to help students in second through fourth grade at 10 schools in Williamson County.

The program pairs volunteer tutors with teachers to provide students additional guidance in reading and math.

“Volunteer tutors can offer more one-on- one help for students who are struggling, just because of inherent time constraints in a typical school day,” said Sonya Johnson, RYH program coordinator. “Through RYH, the volunteers and participating teachers can spend more time identifying and addressing a child’s specific challenges in reaching grade-level proficiency.”

According to research, students who show higher proficiency by the fourth grade do better in school later on and are more likely to graduate from high school, which directly impacts that individual’s financial stability later in life.

Student testing data illustrates the program’s impact. In 2016-2017, 94 percent of the 344 students receiving tutoring improved in reading, while 93 percent improved in math.

Individuals interested in becoming volunteer tutors do not need to have a teaching background. Classroom teachers develop lesson plans and work side-by- side with volunteer tutors to offer guidance throughout the tutoring process.

Volunteers are asked to commit at least one hour per week.

There is no deadline to sign up as a volunteer, however, orientation sessions will be held on Aug. 30 and 31. Volunteers may choose to attend the Aug. 30 orientation, set for 10:30-11:30 a.m. at United Way of Williamson County, 209

Gothic Court, Ste. 107, in Franklin, or the Aug. 31 orientation, set for 4:30-6 p.m. at Columbia State Community College, 1228 Liberty Pike, Franklin, in Community Room 221 of the Admin building.

For more information about Raise Your Hand or to volunteer as a tutor, visit uwwc.org or call Sonya Johnson at 615-771- 2312.

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