Why You Should Consider a Service Year with Saga

May 24, 2021

In the United States, nearly 11 million children, roughly 1 in 7, are experiencing poverty. And the social and economic obstacles faced outside the classroom have a profound impact on a child’s academic performance and well-being within it.

At Saga Education, we believe the potential to achieve is universal and every student is capable of shaping a story of success — in school, and in life.  As things now stand, however, not every student has a fair chance to see it.

Many factors affect student learning, but a fundamental challenge is the mismatch between where students are academically and what is being taught in their classroom. At Saga Education we address this challenge through relationship-driven, targeted instructional support in high school math. Because evidence shows that students who pass 9th grade algebra are 4x more likely to earn a high school diploma, which is why we prioritize support at this critical transition year.

Saga Education is just one of many organizations taking a stance against education inequity. We’ve made our impact by providing access to daily in-school, individualized math tutoring to high school students from historically marginalized communities. This type of high quality tutoring has often been reserved for students and families who can afford a private tutor, but we are working to change this narrative and instead make tutoring accessible to students of all socioeconomic statuses across America.

If you want to help conquer the long-standing injustices in the American education system that have held back too many young people for too long, you should consider a service year with Saga.

What is a service year with Saga?

Recent college graduates, career changers, and retirees who are passionate about public service and committed to confronting educational inequity serve for a 10-month school year as math tutors, and mentor a small group of students, either in-person or remotely based on region, supporting the students in achieving specific math-focused academic goals. Tutors are assigned to one of our partner public high schools for their service year, receive two-three weeks of pre-service training, and work Monday through Friday during traditional school hours.

Service includes providing daily feedback, tracking student attendance and grading, and working with teachers and parents to determine how to best help their kids succeed in and outside of the classroom.

It’s important to note that service goes beyond simply teaching math to high school students. A key element is building meaningful relationships at all levels. This means that as a tutor, you must understand that a student is more than just a student—their life outside the classroom, including their friends, hobbies, and passions define who they are. As a Saga Fellow, you will connect with parents and guardians frequently to check in on their perspectives on your student’s progress. Finally, you will build relationships with your co-Fellows through lesson planning collaboration, social engagements, and supporting each other through wins and tough days alike.

Am I a good candidate for a service year with Saga?

A year of service with Saga is ideal for people who feel passionate about eliminating educational inequity. Specifically, if you acknowledge the impact that social injustice has on the American education system and have a desire to strengthen your understanding of it. Additionally, a Saga Fellow holds the belief that ALL students, especially black and brown students and/or those from historically marginalized communities, deserve high quality and rigorous education.

Some other qualities our ideal candidates possess include:

  • Sufficient knowledge of high school level Algebra and Geometry
  • Adaptability as new challenges arise
  • Valuing teamwork and collaboration
  • Excellent planning skills
  • Ability to handle pressure well
  • Ability to meet students needs based on where they are academically, socially, and emotionally
  • Values relationship building and student advocacy

How will my work as a Saga tutor make a differnece?

Not only will your service help ensure that more students in underserved communities gain access to high-quality personalized tutoring, but evidence also shows that students enrolled in Saga Math Lab experience up to 2.5 years of math growth in one academic school year, increase in school attendance, improved overall GPA, and strengthening students’ confidence and sense of belonging in school and math.

What will I personally gain by doing a service yeat with Saga?

You’ll have the unique opportunity to interact with people of diverse backgrounds, faiths, and ethnicities, while getting an introduction to teaching. This will encompass curriculum implementation, lesson planning, delivering high quality instruction, and culturally responsive behavior management.

You also develop skills that will serve you outside of the classroom, such as time management, communication, fiscal responsibility, and feedback utilization, which you can utilize wherever life takes you after your service year. Tutors also deepen their understanding of education inequality in America, specifically in their region of service.

How can I serve?

There are two ways for you to serve with Saga:

1. Become a Saga Math Fellow

Saga Fellowship is a remote tutoring opportunity created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent school closures. Our Math Fellows facilitate virtual tutorials for their students in New York City and Broward County, Florida, and Charleston, SC online through our tutoring platform, Saga Connect.

2. Become an AmeriCorps Member

AmeriCorps is a national service network with over 1 million individuals who have served to make a difference across the country. Saga Education is a proud member of the AmeriCorps network. Our AmeriCorps members serve in-person in Chicago, IL and Washington D.C.

Whichever way you choose to serve with Saga, your work will have a profound impact on children’s lives in historically under-served communities that would otherwise not receive this type of education. We invite you to join the Saga family, and apply to be a Saga Math Fellow or AmeriCorps member today.