Volume 5, Number 2 Spring 2001 Starting Off Right: Corporation for National Service Programs The newsletter of the ByEdward Doty and Margaret Hawthorne Doty, Program Consultants,Catholic Network of Volunteer Service National Service Resource Center s a new program director, you are probably requirements than traditional AmeriCorps pro- A very optimistic about the potential success of your project. But many programs set them- grams. Traditional Am e ri C o rps members em- phasize direct service while AmeriCorps* VISTA selves up for problems or even failure before their members focus on capacity building. The Senior first member or participant is ever enrolled. All Service Experience Corps can use skills other A project of ETR national service programs, no matter what streams don’t have access to. And many Learn (Education Training stream, face common challenges. You can suc- and Serve America programs deal with the Research) Associates cessfully meet and avoid most mistakes with unique aspects of working with young people. funded by the Corporation for National Service under proper starting procedures,maximizing your new Know the schedule and reporting requirements Cooperative Agreement program’s chances for success. for required hours of service, evaluations and any No. 98CA-CA0011 There are five basic steps to take before you other relevant paperwork. Know exactly what are ready to begin your program. Each of these benefits members receive, and what the require- areas must be addressed and procedures put in ments are for receiving those benefits. Know the place before your program begins. Ot h e rw i s e, activities in which your members may and may you will end up fighting your own lack of organi- not engage. This knowledge is essential as you zation for months to come. plan the details of your program. Grant provisions and regulations are available 1. Know the Corporation’s Rules on the website for the Corporation for National Service (www.nationalservice.org) under Re- It sounds obvious, but your first task is to know, sources for Programs (look under the relevant In this Issue: inside and out, the rules that govern the type of program),or from your state commission or Cor- Program Start-Up program you are starting. For example, Educa- poration for National Service state office. tion Awards programs have different reporting The Key to Supervisory See Starting OffRight,page 4 Success . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Building a Strong Peer Editor’s Box: Start-Up of a National Service Program Network . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 This issue focuses on the important first steps more articles zero in on special concerns of Program Start-Up in starting up a national service program. In service-learning and literacy programs. Blueprint . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 articles from across the different streams of A Program Start-Up Blueprint organizes Start-Up Challenge: service, contributors provide a catalog of the the different aspects of start-up in a timeline Recruitment for the issues and concerns new program directors that can serve as a practical tool and reference Young Fathers Project . .8 and staff must face in preparing for and guide for new program staff. launching their programs. Finally, we provide a list of publications Financial Management The issue kicks off with a discussion of available through the NSRC website and for New Programs . . . . .9 the five basic steps of program start-up, which lending library, which provide further infor- Library Spotlight . . . . .10 is supplemented by separate articles on the mation on many of the principal components critical components of financial management, of start-up, from member recruitment, train- Literacy Projects: Start-Up recruitment, building a network, and supervi- ing and development to supervision and sus- Issues and Concerns . .11 sion (including supervisor training). Two tainability. Starting Smart in Service-Learning . . . . .12 Orientation The Key to Supervisory Success Outline for By Lisa Guccione, AmeriCorps*VISTA Program Director, Community and Economic Development Office, AmeriCorps* Burlington, Vermont VISTA Site Supervisors I. Program Overview Note: Though these guidelines were written for job easier and help them stay organized by keep- Present the big picture of AmeriCorps*VISTA site supervisors, they may ing them as informed as possible. The advance national service and your be applicable to other streams of service. planning and preparation required will be hard organization and ensure work, but it is well worth the effort. We have that each site understands its place in your organiza- T he old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is certainly true when it comes to preparing AmeriCorps*VISTA learned to err on the side of providing the sites with too much information. Here are some tional structure. examples of information to provide: 1. National service over- site supervisors for a year of hosting a national view: History of national service member. The Community and Economic n Before the member begins,provide site super- Development Office (CEDO) in Burlington, visors with a written list of the distinct service, VISTA,Corpor a- Ve rm on t , has learned this lesson, and it has responsibilities of the sponsor agency staff or tion for National Service. developed a detailed orientation and training program director, the AmeriCorps*VISTA 2. Streams of service: plan for setting up both site supervisors and leaders (if you have them),site supervisors and Cover the Corporation for members for success. members. National Service’s organi- The city of Burlington has been sponsoring zational chart and explain n Distribute team rosters, a list of site descrip- AmeriCorps*VISTA members for seven years.In the different streams of tions, and program overview materials so that that time CEDO has grown from coordinating service (SOS) and pro- site supervisors can familiarize themselves five members in 1993 to the current program, grams under the Corpora- with the work of the program and know how which includes 54 members working in two dis- tion’s umbrella,with an to contact their counterparts and those doing tinct teams. The 27-member community devel- emphasis on the organiza- similar work. opment team focuses its efforts in Ve rm on t’s tional structure in your most densely populated low-income area, n Develop a public relations flyer that includes state.Explain where SOS Burlington’s Old North End Enterprise Com- your program mission, a description of the paths might cross and the munity. CEDO also manages a statewide Ameri- sponsor agency, the program goals and objec- role of the state commis- ca Reads literacy initiative that includes 27 mem- tives,and past successes.This quick reference, sion versus the Corpora- bers working to ensure that all children read well which can be used for both sites and the tion state office. and independently by grade three. With only one media, will help supervisors easily explain 3.History and mission of program director, two AmeriCorps*VISTA lead- their relationship to national service. the sponsor organization ers, and AmeriCorps*VISTA members placed in n Ensure that supervisors as well as members and its connection to city and state government agencies,schools, uni- are aware of reporting requirements well in national service. versities and nonprofit agencies, CEDO needed advance. Help them decide what to count and a generic, yet thorough supervisor orientation. let them know what you will do with that II. AmeriCorps*VISTA The underlying premise in building a strong information. Provide a mid-year and end-of- Terms and Conditions program is to establish and maintain close rela- year summary of accomplishments to help Review the basic terms tionships with the site supervisors who are guid- them recognize their place in the larger effort. and conditions of Ameri- ing your AmeriCorps*VISTA members on a daily Corps*VISTA service.It basis. The key is for supervisors to see themselves n As early as possible, send sites a schedule of never hurts to repeat these as much a part of the national service family as team meetings, training, check-ins, s e rv i c e for those supervisors who the members. projects, and reporting deadlines. We provide have already attended a Fo ll owing are some tips that will help you supervisors with a tentative schedule for the pre-service orientation design a supervisor orientation and training plan first six months at the beginning of the pro- (PSO). Enlist them as that will provide a solid foundation in the nation- gram and then send members and supervisors your allies in keeping the al service culture with an emphasis on prevention monthly updates with a simple bulletin and member accountable to as a tool for success. calendar. the team and their work n Don’t let geographic distance prevent you focused on the goal of Remember that most site supervisors from communicating regularly with supervi- capacity building. 1 will supervise an AmeriCorps*VISTA member as a small part of their duties. sors.If you are unable to meet face to face, set up a listserv, use interactive TV, and hold Although it is important to set high standards regional meetings or conference calls. and expectations for the quality of time and ener- gy that they give to members, you can make their 2 Orientation Outline (continued) III. Administrative Review Review the program and fiscal information needed n Most importantly, ensure that every piece of n Ask supervisors if there is any training that to run a successful pro- group information (every memo, e-mail, bul- they need to be more successful in working gram. letin, agenda and calendar) that you share with AmeriCorps*VISTA members. Work- 1. Corporation project with the members is also sent to the site shops on topics such as giving productive application: Give a remin- supervisors. We have learned that, despite feedback, coaching, and adult learning styles der that the workplan is a being in the same building, the same depart- may be well received. working document and ment and the same office, mail somehow does should be used to orient not always get shared. and guide new members. Give site supervisors all the information Recognize that many AmeriCorps* 3 they will need to get started before the member arrives at the pre-service orien- 2. Financial agreements: Provide clarity on travel 2 VISTA supervisors have tremendous skills and experience in their field of tation. One way to accomplish this is to develop a formal training program (see “Orientation Out- and training reimburse- ment processes and cost- expertise, but they may have had little or no line” sidebar). share agreements,if ap- training in supervisory skills. You may need to plicable; review the terms, help them understand the unique position that conditions and process for AmeriCorps*VISTA members play in their Help new supervisors to interact with the stipend and education agency. 4 their peers. If possible, try to develop a formal mentoring relationship between award;provide a schedule for pay periods; and ex- n Sites are most successful when the supervisor your new supervisors and your veteran supervi- plain who to call with not only integrates the AmeriCorps*VISTA sors. At the very least, you will want to provide a questions on the living member into the agency staff (by including forum where veteran site supervisors and second- allowance. him or her in staff meetings,for example) but year members are invited to share suggestions, 3. Reporting expectations also makes a commitment to the professional experiences, and effective practices, and answer and paperwork. and personal development of that member. questions from new supervisors. 4. Timeline/annual calen- More coaching and training may be necessary With advance thought and personal attention to dar:Explain which train- for AmeriCorps*VISTA members than for site supervisors, you will be able to create a ing, service projects,and other staff. Supervising national service mem- national service network throughout your host team meetings are required bers, simply put, takes more time. If you can sites. The sense of team spirit that you work so and which are optional. give supervisors an accurate sense of how much time each week they should be spend- hard to instill in your members will carry over to IV. Roles/Responsibilities ing on check-ins and project guidance, you supervisors. And ultimately, the goal of placing Review the different roles will help them and their fellow staff be ready members in projects that value the member and and responsibilities carried to bring a member onto their team. the national service resource that they are getting out by Corporation staff, will be much more easily achieved. Invested and n Provide supervisors with the same training program staff, site supervi- informed site supervisors make for a good experi- needs assessment that you use for your mem- sors and members. ence for your members and will be your best tool bers. Ask them to rate the training needs for in the fight to get things done. n members in order to help you design member V. Recruitment training. Invite them to participate as learners For more information, contact Lisa Guccione at If you will be coordinating in any of the workshops you offer for mem- (802) 865-7547 or email@example.com. member recruitment and bers. Include them as trainers for your mem- placement,make sure that ber workshops and Early Service Training. site supervisors are clear Ask for their feedback on the impact that the on the process and time- training has had on the members’work.All of line, including a review of this will help them become more invested in relevant deadlines and en- the team’s identity and ensure that you, as a rollment paperwork. program manager, have a clear sense of the success of your member development plan. 3 Starting Off Right: Corporation for National Service Programs (continued from page 1) 2. Explain Your Mission 4. Orient Everyone Articulating your mission is not as easy as it Every stakeholder needs to be oriented to the sounds. You probably had a variety of personal mission and methods of your new program. reasons for initiating the program, from dissatis- Don’t make the mistake of thinking that every- faction with what you were doing before to the one else understands what you’re tr ying to do if desire to address a local community need while you haven’t told them explicitly. You need sepa- accessing a larger support network. H ow ever, rate orientations for different kinds of partici- your reasons may not be ones that will motivate pants,whether they are site supervisors,staff, vol- anyone else to pursue program goals. You need to unteers, members or others. Even if a category come up with a clear, concise mission statement contains only one or two people, plan and execute that will compel other stakeholders—members, a full orientation to maximize ownership of your participants,volunteers, site supervisors, program program and to make sure protocols will be fol- directors and support staff—to share your pur- lowed. Lack of understanding of requirements pose and promote it effectively. Write it down! If can cause people to take shortcuts into prohibited you do not put it in writing, chances are you will areas or leave you without information you need vary your mission statement to suit the occasion, to report to the Corporation. and different stakeholders will end up with dif- ferent concepts of your organization’s goal. 5. Build a Support Network Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Go to as many 3. Develop Organizational Systems conferences as you can and get to know others The primary organizational systems that need to with similar programs. Join the listservs relevant be in place as you begin are the methods for keep- to your program and participate in the discus- ing track of member activities, your calendar and sions by asking questions and sharing your opin- any funds you receive from the Corporation. ions and knowledge. Use the technical assistance Make sure you know exactly what information services offered by the Corporation. Take every must be kept. Review samples of reporting forms opportunity to make connections with other pro- for similar Corporation-funded programs to be gram directors. Ask them what experiences they sure you keep track of all information you will have had and how they sol ved the problems they need to report to the Corporation. Then, make encountered. The more extensive a support net- sure you know when each form and report must work you can establish,the better chance you will T/TA Master Calendar be filed to keep your program on track for every have to address and correct problems in your pro- This is a calendar of stakeholder. The calendar needs to include dates gram as they arise. events, conferences and for member enrollment, orientation, activities, The ultimate success of your program will meetings of interest to reporting requirements and completion. (Finan- depend on a wide variety of factors, some of programs in national cial reporting is addressed elsewhere in this which you can control and some of which you service. To find out what’s newsletter.) can’t. But you can get off on the right track by happening, visit www.etr. You should also start planning for assessment taking these five steps before enrolling your org/nsrc/calendar.html. of your program. Use the goals and objectives members or recruiting other participants. Know- from your grant application to determine the ing what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and assessments you will need during the year. Ensur- how to keep track of what’s been done, then ing your methods of data collection are in place ensuring that the other people involved in your from the beginning will make it easier to evaluate program know the same, are key to starting a the results of your program at the end of the year. strong program. n For training and technical assistance in program start-up, contact Karen Stran at 1-800-543-5046 or firstname.lastname@example.org. 4 Building a Strong Peer Network By Mark Fulop, Program Director, National Service Resource Center, ETR Associates Does This Scenario Sound Familiar? So, Where Do I Start? am a new program director—actually, I have I been in the position for about seven weeks. When I became a director, I didn’t receive any Make the time. The most important lesson to learn about networking is that it must be a high- enough pri o ri ty for us to make time to do it. training and, as a new director, I sure could have Schedule networking on your calendar right be- used some.If it were not for the Director’s Hand- tween “staff meeting” and “write progress report.” book, I would be completely in the dark about what I should be doing. It is uncomfortable to be Get wired. The National Service Resource Cen- Effective Practices left to form my own interpretation of what is in ter (NSRC) hosts a number of program-specific Information Center the handbook, and at times I am really uncertain electronic discussion groups (listservs) for the Corporation for National Service (see Join the (Epicenter) which way to turn.I still have questions,so I rely on other directors who have offered their assis- Conversation). Several of these groups will con- Epicenter is an online tance to me. Recently I had the opportunity to nect you to over 500 other program directors and database of effective prac- attend a state conference, and I heard other new members. To join the listservs, you’ll need a com- tices for national service directors complaining about having no idea what puter connected to the Internet. programs. You can search they were supposed to be doing as directors.I also the database to find out Collect and give away business cards. The old heard that, like me, they felt that they did not what’s working for others practice of exchanging business cards is still a have the basics for how to do their jobs as direc- in national service, or critical one for networking. If you were asked to tors. I love this work, but no one said it would be contribute your own name the most important thing in your office easy! effective practice. Visit other than your computer and phone, would you Can you find yourself in this story? Whether www.nationalservice.org/ reply “my business card Rolodex”? If not, then it was years ago or toda y, we have all had to con- resources/epicenter to you are probably under-utilizing your profession- front the issues of getting a new program off the explore the database. al netw o rk . Who we know is probably more ground. When you’re a new director, or e ven an important to solving problems than what we “old” director starting a new program, the work is know. A great tip when you are meeting new challenging at the best of times and overwhelm- people is to make a few quick notes about them ing at the worst of times. New directors and pro- on the back of their business cards, and then fol- grams are expected to start up fast—often with low up with a quick note to start nurturing a pro- little direction or knowledge of where to turn for fessional relationship. answers. This article focuses on using peer net- works and mentoring as important sources of Know what you don’t know, then ask. Asking answers to your start-up questions. someone to mentor you because you are new and We all have experienced the value of getting don’t know anything might sound as if you are advice or direction from those who know more asking that person for unlimited access to their about a subject than we do. But have we made time and energy. On the other hand, if you figure getting peer advice a priority for project manage- out what you don’t know, it is easier to ask for ment? Creating an intentional strategy to develop help. So, instead of asking for open access to a a mentoring relationship will help us grow pro- mentor’s time, focus on something more specific. fessionally. Mentoring is the backbone of many For example, instead of saying “I am new and national service projects, ranging from Learn and don’t know anything,” it might be better to ask, Serve projects to local Foster Grandparent initia- “It seems like you have a lot of experience in tives. As leaders, we should use mentoring not managing interpersonal conflicts among volun- only as a program strategy, but as a key feature of teers, so could I call you if I ever need some our peer networks. Peer mentoring and network- advice on this topic?” ing are critical to our awareness that none of us Create a learning club. Another approach to are in this alone. Even if you are located in a networking is to create a learning club. If you small, isolated community, there are many ways know a few other new directors and maybe one that you can get connected to your peers. or two more seasoned ones, you could create an informal learning club to exchange resources regarding a topic or topics by e-mail or confer- ence call. See Building a Strong Peer Network,page 8 5 Program Start-Up Blueprint By Cole McMahon,Director of Training and Technical Assistance, Maryland Governor’s Office on Se ervice and Volunteerism,and the participants at the Atlantic Cluster New Program Directors’ Orientation,Linthicum,Maryland, September 2000 Start-Up Challenge: Recruitment for the Young Fathers Project By Laine Renfro Sedillo,Executive Director, New Mexico Teen Pregnancy Coalition he New Mexico Young Fathers Project designed pre-service orientation that builds the T began in 1999, with funding from the Office of Population Affairs and its collaborative ethic of service, unifies the team, and gives them the knowledge they need to begin service. Set- partners: Planned Parenthood of New Mexico ting clear expectations in the beginning will and the Father & Family Center. The program reduce confusion and misunderstandings later in received funding to develop and provide a multi- the year. After pre-service orientation, train your faceted educational program to address the needs members thoroughly and often,since they have a of young parenting males at 10 teen parent sites lot of desire, but not as much technical expertise across the state.One of the biggest start-up chal- as you might expect. lenges was recruitment of AmeriCorps mem- bers. Through the process of recruitment, pro- n Seek to learn about the skills members already have. Members may possess skills and gram staff learned some valuable lessons: knowledge that you do not know about. Try to n Position descriptions help you recruit the build upon the unanticipated skills of members “right” members. In the New Mexico Young in ways that strengthen the program efforts. Fathers Project, members needed to be male with at least two years of college, experience in n Don’t let the small stuff get you down. Recruiting is hard work, and there is no way health education or social work, and experience around the time and effort it takes to recruit in male involvement activities (such as Boy good members. But if the details of recruitment Scouts). Without a clear position description, you can waste a lot of energy recruiting members start to get you down,take some time to remem- who are not qualified for your program. A com- ber the big picture: careful recruiting will ulti- prehensive position description is essential to mately increase the success of your program. n help you focus your recruiting efforts. For more information, contact Laine Renfro Sedillo at email@example.com or Carl Dellinger, Planned Par- n Recruiting is best done locally. Although websites and e-mail discussion groups can be enthood of New Mexico,at firstname.lastname@example.org. good places to advertise for interns,most recruit- ment involves the local media and traditional “low tech” ways of networking within the com- Building a Strong Peer Network munity. Start with local colleges and vocational (continued from page 5) schools or other places where the types of mem- bers you are looking for might be found. Also, Give back to your network. A final principle: use other AmeriCorps members to help get the Always give back to your network. As you gain word out about your project. Personal recruit- experience, you will have more experience to ment seems to work well. share, and in a couple of years you will no longer be the “new kid” on the block.Then, it will be your n Network with other AmeriCorps sites on a turn to provide support when a new director says, coordinated recruitment strategy. If seve ra l “Help, I don’t know anything! Where can I turn?” programs in your area are recruiting members, share position descriptions and member applica- There are two approaches when starting out as a tions. A member not suited for one placement new director. The first is to go it alone, struggle may be perfect for another. to find resources, and when things go wrong, blame it on lack of preparation or proper train- n Be prepared for lots of paperwork. E ve n ing. The second approach is to intentionally though some of it is computerized, there are lots develop and nurture professional relationships, of documents to read, forms to complete, and ask for help, and, whenever possible, establish reports to submit. more formal mentoring relationships. Though n Once you find members, invest heavily in we may still struggle at times, this second them. Members are in it not for the money but approach will give us a broader network for sup- for the experience and sense of purpose they port,because we are all in this work together. n gain. Start the members off right with a well- 8 Financial Management for New Programs By Corland Forrester, CPA, Walker & Company n Grant expenditures that are reimbursed by W e all know the proverbs “A stitch in time saves nine” and “If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right the first time.” the Corporation for National Service n Matching expenditures,if applicable These two adages should be held closely by pro- n Other non-federal-related expenditures gram directors and other stakeholders of new programs as they begin the process of setting up 5. Take a careful look at the financial capacity their operations. “Doing it right” means imple- of your organization to provide cash (for mem- menting strong financial controls to accurately bers’ support) and other operating matches, manage a program’s operations. A program may which can be cash or in-kind support. have a good mission and a great plan for carrying it out, but the program can fail if good financial Operating Activities management is lacking. As you begin to develop your program’s financial management system, 1. Set up a payroll process for members and consider the following essential activities for the staff. Ensure that applicable taxes are withheld start-up and operation of a successful program. from members’living allowances,if applicable. 2. Review program goals against your budget Start-Up Activities and compare to actual expenditures. 1 . Know the rules you must follow while 3 . Prepare Periodic Expense Reports (PER) administering your grant. These rules may and Financial Status Reports (FSR) in a timely include the Corporation’s grant provisions that manner. apply to your specific grant, state guidelines for the location(s) of your operations (which may be 4 . Ensure that policies and procedures are obtained fr om your state commission or office), being followed. and federal guidelines based on your type of Relevant OMB organization. The federal regulations are found 5. Ensure that the program expenditures are Circulars in the Office of Management and Budget being approved by the appropriate person and State and Local (OMB) Circulars.OMB circulars that may appl y that these expenditures are reported accurately. Government, Tribes: to your organization (see sidebar) can be found at A-102 6. Ensure that the matching requirements are A-87 www.whitehouse.gov/OMB/circulars/index.html. being met. Member support match should be A-133 2 . Design internal controls to manage your met every quarter and operating match by the end of the program year. Higher Education: operations.These controls should include proce- A-110 dures for the following: 7. Document your expenditures so that (1) they A-21 n Approving program expenditures can be easily traced to the source documentation; A-133 n Ensuring all expenditures are recorded in the and (2) it is clearly indicated how these expendi- Nonprofit: financial records tures were necessary for your program’s operation. A-110 n Reviewing and approving timesheets of History has taught us that when programs fail to A-122 members and staff, as appropriate A-133 implement strong financial management con- n Preparing financial and programmatic reports trols, they invite intentional or unintentional fis- n Segregating activities performed by employ- cal problems that can result in a program losing ees to develop a system of checks and bal- funds. The lack of financial controls can also ances (for example, make sure the same result in negative audit findings.This can require employee does not open the mail, deposit an organization to pay back funds to the federal checks and record the transactions in the government or risk not having the pro g ra m financial system) renewed. If you implement good fiscal controls early in your program’s life, you won’t have to 3. Document through written policies and pro- deal with the negative consequences of not hav- cedures the internal controls that are designed to ing them later on. n manage your operations. For technical assistance with financial management, 4. Design your accounting system with separate contact Corland Forrester toll-free at 1-877-363- cost centers to segregate the activities for: 9300 or email@example.com. 9 Library Spotlight: Program Start-Ups Corporation for America Reads: Principles and Key Com- Getting Things Started: National Service ponents for High Quality America Reads The AmeriCorps Orientation Video programs may check National Service Program Initiatives 8 minutes,V0156 out these and other Corporation for National Service, 1997 Overview of AmeriCorps for those beginning items from our Library 8 pages,R0688 their year of service. Describes the mission of Catalog by contacting Describes guidelines for integrating Am e ri ca AmeriCorps, the history of national service, and Bernadette Perez: Reads initiatives into national service programs what it means to be an AmeriCorps member. and the standards of quality tutoring activities. Phone: 1995-6 Idaho TRIO AmeriCorps Member 800-860-2684, ext.260 AmeriCorps Education Awards Programs: Calendar-Journal Starting Strong and Staying on Track 150 pages,W0035 TDD: Catholic Network of Volunteer Service Helps members record, focus, and organize their 831-461-0205 Approximately 150 pages,R1636 goals and work for the next year. Each month Sections on CNS requirements, start-up tips, contains a calendar with time-card deadlines. Fax: 831-430-9471 member recruitment and orientation, site super- Space for weekly journal entries for recording visor resources, program monitoring, site man- work and for writing success stories is provided. Website: agement, and training and technical assistance. www.etr.org/nsrc/ Practical Applications: Strategies for library.html AmeriCorps*VISTA Supervisor's Manual Supporting a Diverse Corps 92 pages,R0730 38 pages,R0685 Address: Assists supervisors with issues like project devel- Strategies for encouraging and promoting diver- NSRC/ETR Associates opment,member recruitment,project implemen- sity in AmeriCorps programs. Addresses recruit- P.O. Box 1830 tation,and member administration. ment and retention of members, assessment Santa Cruz, CA policies, training and skill development, and 95061-1830 Becoming a Better Senior Corps dealing with group conflicts. Supervisor National Crime Prevention Council Programming for Impact National Toolkit 120 pages,R1457 Angela Roberts,ed. Gives supervisors techniques for active listening, Approximately 200 pages,K0565 coaching, and managing conflict. Describes self- Reference manual, learning tool, and guide for assessment and time-management methods. Senior Corps project directors. Sections include project administration, working with volunteer Becoming a Better Supervisor: stations,advisory councils,and tools for commu- A Resource Guide for Community nity needs,data collection,and measurement. Service Supervisors 143 pages,C0096 Seniors for Schools Effective Practices Illustrates the many roles of a supervisor; includes Guidebook readings, assessment tools, and checklists. National Senior Service Corps Opinions or points of 350 pages,R1453 view expressed in this Complete Guide to Learning through How to initiate and sustain a senior service liter- newsletter or in these Community Service: Grades K-9 acy program in schools: recruiting and training referenced items are Lillian S. Stephens volunteers, building partnerships, choosing a lit- those of the authors 235 pages,C0111 eracy model, community outreach, and program and do not necessarily How to establish a service-learning program: administration and evaluation. reflect the official posi- integrating curriculum according to age, course tion of the Corporation of study, and planned duration. Starting Strong: A Guide to for National Service or Pre-Service Training ETR Associates. Essential Elements of Service-Learning MOSAICA, Washington, D.C.1996 for Effective Practice and Organizational 595 pages,R0135 Support Provides information on what type of pre-service National Service-Learning Cooperative training is appropriate for specific programs. 34 pages,M0791 Also available at www.etr.org/nsrc/pdfs/start- Includes an introduction to service-learning, a ingstrong/starting.html. Disk of activities can be description of the essential elements of effective ordered at no charge from NSRC.* service-learning practices and how to apply them. 10 Literacy Projects: Start-Up Issues and Concerns Note: The following is an excerpt from the Se- Expect an adjustment period for organizing niors for Schools Effective Practices Guidebook, any new project, but plan for staffing early in Chapter One, “Common Start-Up Issues and your preparations. Your sponsor agency may have Concerns.” For more information on establishing staff who are able to help you out. Ask advice a literacy program, refer to the guidebook (avail- from your sponsor. They are already established able from the NSRC lending library, page 10). in the community and will be a valuable resource for information and ideas for getting things A s project directors, there are many factors to be considered when establishing a literacy program. This article highlights common con- done. They also fund your program and will be able to identify what the budget resources are for hiring support staff. cerns and problem areas identified by Seniors for Schools project directors themselves.It offers you How to Communicate Your Project’s Needs a starting point for finding your own approach and solutions. to a School Principal When a project is new and lacks a track record, Beginning a New Literacy Initiative project directors can sometimes feel reluctant As a new project director, you may feel over- and uncomfortable being up-front and direct whelmed with the task set before you and have when identifying project needs and expectations some hesitancy in knowing how and where to for the school’s role. Develop a partnership begin. Do not hesitate to seek help as you launch agreement or Memorandum of Understanding a new initiative, or continue to develop an exist- with each school. (Samples are available at the ing program. You have many resources for infor- LEARNS website: www.nwrel.org/learns.) Out- mation and problem-solving, beginning with the line what will be provided by your project,and by Corporation for National Service in Washington, the school. Also establish a timeline for meeting D.C. Consult your sponsor organization and obligations and benchmarks for measuring the school partners as well. Keep them abreast of success of the partnership. This will provide a issues and activities.The more you involve others shared understanding of expectations. in your project, the broader your foundation for the project will be. Seek advice and assistance as How Much Time and What Topics often as you need it. Are Essential to Volunteer Orientation and Training? Administering a Grant Authored by There are so many things that project directors Someone Else feel are important for volunteers to know and Frequently the author of your program’s grant is a understand about their work. This is increasingly writer, not a project director or manager. The true for projects working in literacy and education. author may have identified key goals, objectives Recognize first of all that your project is and implementation procedures that you have unique. There will be similarities in projects, but not had a role in designing. It is okay and often no two projects are exactly the same, nor are their necessary to tweak goals and objectives to fit a needs the same. Look to other projects for exam- more realistic and manageable timeline and mile- ples, survey your volunteers and find out what stones for your project. You may amend the writ- knowledge they feel they’re lacking and look to ten goals and objectives based on your knowledge your partner schools to be resources as well. of your program and goals. Schools using particular reading models or approaches will most likely want to provide some Securing Staff to Administer the Project sort of training to volunteers. Create a training outline or training plan for the year. When projects are selected, there must be quali - Remember, not every topic can be covered fied people available to do everything from help- during the initial orientation period. Build in ing answer the phones when recruitment ca ll s trainings throughout the year, and make these begin to come in, to assisting with financial mat- trainings relevant to the needs of the children, ters regarding the new grant.Thus, project direc- volunteers and overall project goals. tors often must move quickly to secure new staff that can help administer the project. See Literacy Projects,page 12 11 National Service Resource Center Starting Smart in Service-Learning By Bob Seidel,Department of Service-Learning,Corporation for National Service ETR Associates P.O. Box 1830 any of the ideas about start-up in Ameri- contact the National Service-Learning Exchange by Santa Cruz, CA 95061 Shipping: M Corps and Senior Corps also apply to Learn and Serve America programs. There are, calling toll-free 1-877-572-3924, e-mailing lsaex- firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting www.lsaexchange.org. 4 Carbonero Way however, a few key points that are essential,if not For help with education or literacy programs, call Scotts Valley, CA 95066 specific,to service-learning programs: LEARNS, the Corporation’s T/TA provider for edu- Phone:(800) 860-2684 n Make sure that your goals and objectives cational success. LEARNS is a partnership of the TDD: (831) 461-0205 address adequately both participant learning Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, 1-800- Fax:(831) 430-9471 outcomes and community service outcomes. 361-7890, www.nwrel.org/learns, and the Bank E-mail:email@example.com It’s crucial that your program find ways to Street College of Education,1-800-930-5664. www.etr.org/nsrc make these categories of objectives mutually supportive rather than competitive. NSRC Staff: n Involve diverse participants in defining goals, Literacy Projects Mark Fulop, ext.214 objectives, and methods as early as possible. (continued from page 11) Program Director Students, faculty, administrators, and other Susan Hillyard, ext.105 c om mu n i ty members who have a stake in Identifying Appropriate Space within a Program Manager what the program does should all have mean- School for Tutoring Sessions Jill Saito, ext.100 ingful representation as early as is practical. Epicenter Coordinator Space is at a premium because schools are fre- n Work on program evaluation from Day One. quently overcrowded. Volunteers may initially find Donna Riggs, ext.130 Your concern for long-term success of your they must hunt for a space to work one-to-one Information Specialist program, as well as meaningful outcomes for with children and to consistently call their own. Mary Girouard, ext.143 all stakeholders, should mean that you inte- Not having consistent space for tutoring and vol- Editor grate process evaluation and outcomes assess- unteer meetings can cause volunteers to feel that Bernadette Perez, ext.260 ment into your initial work on goals and the project lacks structure and organization. Resource Center Assistant objectives.If this is not an area of expertise for Although space for volunteers may have been Administrative you, seek assistance from appropriate training identified in the original proposal, without a Assistant, ext.142 and technical assistance providers. doubt it must be addressed again when actually There are important reasons for, and multiple beginning work in a school. Be polite and facets to, all three of these points.Addressed well, respectful when working with school administra- Corporation for they can empower participants, make service as tors, but be very clear in letting them know that National Service appropriate and meaningful as possible, help space is essential to working with children and to 1201 New York Ave.NW focus on similarities and differences among par- the success of the project. The space does not Washington, DC 20525 ticipants and other community members, and need to be fancy, but needs to be set apart in Phone:(202) 606-5000 stimulate creativity and energy. some way, with some sense of privacy so there are TDD:(202) 565-2799 Throughout the program activity, participants not a lot of distractions. www.nationalservice.org Corporation for (students, faculty, administrators, and other com- munity members) should reflect on what needs Evaluating and Assessing the Impact National Service Adviser: David Bellama doing, why, what skills and tools are necessary, of the Project’s Work Senior Training Officer, who should be involved, relevant aspects of the With any literacy project,it is sometimes difficult T/TA culture of the community, and other issues. to know what to measure, how to measure suc- Throughout the activity, organized reflection can cess and how to communicate the progress of the address what works,what doesn’t, what to do dif- project.There are many ways to demonstrate the Upon request,this materi- ferently, which early expectations have proven positive impact of your project. Work with your al will be made available in true, which ones haven’t, and many other issues. school principal or leader to identify areas of your alternative formats for Such reflection—which can integrate group dis- program that will be evaluated by the school. people with disabilities. cussion, writing assignments, and a host of other Communicate what you need to know and mutu- methods—can benefit both participant learning ally decide when this information will be provid- and community outcomes. n ed to you.If possible, arrange in advance to work For additional information,contact the National Ser- with a local evaluator who can provide assistance vice-Learning Clearinghouse at 1-800-808-7378 or to your project. This evaluator should be willing firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.umn.edu/~serve. To and able to have an ongoing relationship with contact a volunteer peer mentor in service-learning, your project. n 12
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