Opening Day for United Way’s North Shore AmeriCorps Program

November 3, 2017

AmeriCorps members sworn in today to serve students in Lynn and Salem

BOSTON, MA – United Way’s North Shore AmeriCorps team today kicked off the 2017-2018 service year at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston, joining more than 1,000 AmeriCorps members from across Massachusetts.  The 20 members from United Way’s North Shore AmeriCorps team, who are working to improve academic outcomes and reduce dropout rates among English Language Learner students in Lynn and Salem, are being sworn in for their year of service today at an event hosted by the Massachusetts Service Alliance and the Massachusetts office of the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Through United Way’s North Shore AmeriCorps Program, 20 members are serving during the 2017-2018 school year in seven public schools and 8 community organizations across Lynn and Salem. In Salem, AmeriCorps members serve at the Nathaniel Bowditch K-8, Salem High School, Salem Sound, and LEAP for Education.  In Lynn, AmeriCorps members serve at Marshall Middle School, Breed Middle School, Lynn Classical, Lynn English and Lynn Vocational Technical high schools, Lynn Housing and Neighborhood Development (LHAND), Girls Inc. of Lynn, New American Center, Lynn YMCA, Gregg House, and Children’s Law Center.

Funded by United Way of Massachusetts Bay, the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Massachusetts Service Alliance, the North Shore AmeriCorps partnership is working to increase academic engagement and outcomes among English Language Learner students in these cities.

Last year, AmeriCorps members supported 400 students in Lynn and Salem with academic and social emotional interventions both during school and in out-of-school-time programming. Their goals included spending 90 minutes with each students over a two-week period working on comprehension, vocabulary, fluency and providing mentoring support.  At the end of the year, 89% of students responded with either “agree a lot” or “mostly agree” to the question “Working with an AmeriCorps member has helped me with my academic English.”

The team of 20 full-time AmeriCorps members are placed to serve alongside Salem Public Schools and Lynn Public Schools and community-based organizations in the two cities to provide tutoring, mentoring and academic support services to immigrant students and their families.  The goal of the partnership is to help immigrant students overcome barriers and challenges to learning and improve their academic outcomes.

United Way selected Lynn and Salem because of their concentrated immigrant populations.  In the 2016-2017 school year, English Language Learner students made up 19.9% of total students in Lynn, and the dropout rate among these students was 29.5%, the highest dropout rate of all reported groups in Lynn.  In Salem, English Language Learner students made up 12.7% of total students in the 2016-2017 school year, and the dropout rate among these students was 5.9%.