Students are referred to GO based on academic and financial needs. Students are paired with a private tutor at no cost and begin a journey together that will last through middle school. Every student receives two, one-hour sessions per week over 30 weeks resulting in 60 additional hours of individualized academic support and care in a safe and nurturing after-school environment. Tutoring takes place on-site, at the child's school, allowing a smooth end-of-day transition for students. The consistency and support provided change a child's academic trajectory in profound ways.
Additional academic and social-emotional support from a safe, stable, and reliable role model is critical for the future of our most vulnerable students.
GO Tutors meet with classroom teachers at the start of the year to set learning goals for their students. They observe students in the classroom and attend curriculum nights and parent-teacher conferences. This individualized system of support ensures the child's academic needs are met.
In addition to one-on-one tutoring, GO tutors serve as mentors. They are a bridge between home and school, partnering with parents and caregivers to provide enrichment opportunities for the family. Whether tickets to a play, a sporting event, visiting a museum, or receiving sponsorship for swimming or music lessons, this added level of trust, support, and opportunity transform students' feelings about school, their community, and life.
GO worked in partnership with the Ithaca City School District Bus Department until 2019, when the pandemic turned our world inside out. For 14 years, GO students were transported home at the end of their tutoring session, providing a smooth end-of-day transition for students whose families have little to no access to transportation. When ICSD suspended bus service, GO found creative ways to ensure students could continue tutoring after school and on-site, including membership with a local nonprofit organization, Ithaca Carshare. GO received emergency grant funds to cover the cost of transportation, and many tutors drove students home following their tutoring sessions.
Three years into the pandemic, GO continues to face transportation challenges. This year, several ICSD after-school programs have agreed to accept GO students into their programs at no cost, and many students will participate in a brand new initiative called The GO Club. Centrally located at BJM Elementary, The GO Club will be home to children from six elementary schools, allowing them to broaden their peer groups while building social skills in a cooperative learning environment. The ICSD bus department will once again provide the necessary transportation for GO students.