Only 8.3 percent of students who participated last year received the full program, according to the United Way of Dane County, which coordinates the project with the Madison School District.
A quarter of students received individualized tutoring, but for fewer than 15 sessions. The remainder of the 6,132 students either didn’t complete the program or were tutored in larger groups.
About 60 percent of the district’s elementary students participated in the program last year. Participants were predominantly low-income or minority students.
The program currently has a need for 100 more volunteer tutors, who would help offer the full program to more students, United Way president Leslie Ann Howard said.
“To get the biggest impact, we need to do it based on the model,” Howard said.
Annalee Good, the UW-Madison researcher, recommended tutors work as many as three students at a time to expand the reach of a limited number of tutors.
But the study also found that students in kindergarten who participate in Schools of Hope tutoring sessions made fewer gains in reading than similar peers. Students in grades 1-4 made significant gains over peers, while results in fifth grade were mixed.
In total, education spending makes up 35 percent of United Way’s budget for this year.
The charity also announced investments in programs to prevent family homelessness, keep former inmates from re-offending, screen students for mental health issues, and help seniors avoid adverse drug affects.