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When Schools Strive, Communities Thrive


Catherine is a senior communications professional helping social change organizations tell their story in powerful ways. She has expertise in public health, environmental stewardship, philanthropy and education. Follow her on Twitter @CatBrozena

Pilot program, TutorMate, is making a difference with students in Georgia

by Aryonia White, Communications Intern, Kaiser Permanente


“I wanted to be part of this reading project to make a difference in a child’s life,” said Mary Schramm, a senior financial analyst at Kaiser Permanente in Atlanta, Georgia. “I witnessed my students’ confidence grew a little more each week.”

As part of Thriving Schools’ effort to ensure students fare better academically, Kaiser Permanente partnered with Innovations for Learning, a national nonprofit whose mission is to improve literacy outcomes in under-resourced schools through their signature online volunteer tutoring program called TutorMate.

For the pilot year of the partnership, TutorMate identified 20 first-grade students who struggle with literacy at Asa Hilliard Elementary School in East Point, Georgia. Those students were then matched with 20 Kaiser Permanente volunteers and met online every week.

Over the course of the 2017-2018 school year, volunteers spent more than 144 hours working with their respective students. All 20 participating students improved their reading skills by the end of the school year.

TutorMate connects the community to the classroom

Reaching more than 50,000 students nationally, TutorMate provides students with a fun and exciting way to learn using technology. By partnering with corporate sponsors and volunteers, they’re able to provide one-on-one support for students who struggle with reading.

TutorMate recruits local corporations to sponsor a classroom, pairing corporate volunteers with first-grade students. Volunteers teach a child to read — without ever leaving the office — using a phone and computer.

Everyday people become influential role models and boost students’ self-confidence to believe in themselves and strive for more in school. Moving forward, the program is expected to expand from 20 to 60 student/adult matches.

“TutorMate really touched my heart from the very first video we watched, teary eyed,” said Nissa Wise, an executive assistant. “Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to this project and expanding it is really exciting and makes me so proud to be an employee and a big part of the community.”

Find out more at TutorMate and @ThrivingSchools.

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