Saga Education AmeriCorps member FAQ

Saga Education is an official AmeriCorps program under the Corporation for National & Community Service (CNCS).

 

Selection Process

 

+ Is there an application deadline?

Applications for the 2020-2021 school year will be accepted/open starting in mid-September, and will remain open until the cohort is full. There is an advantage to applying earlier, as the selection process is highly competitive and becomes more selective as spots are filled. Our application deadlines are as follows:

  • November 15th
  • January 17th
  • March 13th
  • May 8th
  • July 3rd

+ What are the stages in the selection process?

  1. Online Application: Prospective AmeriCorps members must complete the online application. Please be prepared to submit a resume and answer one short, free-response question. No cover letter is required. This initial stage typically takes no more than 15 minutes.

  2. Assessments: Candidates who are selected to move forward are asked to complete a two-part assessment, which includes a Critical Response (Part 1) and Math Assessment (Part 2) task. This stage is expected to take approximately 2 hours combined.

  3. Virtual Interview: Candidates who progress to this stage will be invited to a 45-minute virtual interview with a member of our Recruitment Team.

  4. Virtual Tutorial: This is the final stage of the selection process. Candidates are expected to prepare a 15-minute sample math tutorial, and participate in a brief feedback session with a member of our Programs Team

+ How long does the selection process take?

The online application takes about 15-minutes. However, the entire selection process takes approximately two to three weeks, from the time a candidate applies to the time they receive a final decision.

+ Who can serve as an AmeriCorps member?

Applicants must be either a U.S. citizen, national, or lawful permanent resident. Unfortunately, this also disqualifies international students. Valid documentation will be required upon onboarding.

Applicants must also have earned an associate’s degree, or higher, prior to their start date.

Additionally, Saga Education recruits highly talented, recent college graduates, career changers, and retirees who are dedicated to confronting educational inequity and passionate about public service. Our service members come from a diverse set of academic, social, and cultural backgrounds, and nearly half of our members identify as people of color.

Those who are looking for a meaningful gap-year opportunity or a pathway into education are encouraged to apply.

 

AmeriCorps member Experience

 

+ How does Saga Education Work?

Saga Education is an official AmeriCorps program under the Corporation for National & Community Service (CNCS). Saga Education supports historically under-served young people by providing personalized and consistent math tutorials led by professionally trained AmeriCorps members who supplement teacher instruction and encourage students’ confidence and academic strengths. Our organization partners with public school districts to provide this service at no cost to students.

+ Where do AmeriCorps members with Saga Education serve?

Our members serve in Chicago, New York City and Washington DC.

+ How are AmeriCorps members with Saga Education compensated?

Saga Education provides a modest living stipend to all members for their 10-month term of service (August-June). Here is a complete outline of Saga benefits.

  • Chicago: Stipend $20,000 & Segal Education Award*
  • New York City: Stipend $21,000 & Segal Education Award*
  • Washington DC: Stipend $21,000 & Segal Education Award*

As members of the federal AmeriCorps program, AmeriCorps members with Saga Education are eligible to earn the Segal Education Award (valued at approximately $6,000) at the completion of their service year, which can be applied toward future or existing, qualified student loans. Additionally, over 100 colleges and universities nationwide augment the Segal Education Award in some way, including matching AmeriCorps members’ award amount, waived registration fees, course credits, or service scholarships.

During their service with us and as AmeriCorps members, qualified student loans are eligible for forbearance or deferment.

AmeriCorps members are also eligible for pre-tax Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for unreimbursed qualified expenses —any medical, dental or vision expenses that may incur which are not covered by insurance. In addition, AmeriCorps members can create a pre-tax flex account for dependent care, transportation, or parking.

AmeriCorps members have access to other Saga staff member perks (e.g. discounts on entertainment).

+ Does Saga provide commuting benefits (i.e. Metrocards)?

While Saga does not provide public transportation passes directly, AmeriCorp members can sign up for FSA Transit benefits, Members who opt in designate a specific amount to be deducted from each paycheck before taxes which can then be used to cover expenses related to commuting to- and from- service sites such as public transportation passes.

+ What do AmeriCorps members do safter serving with Saga?

AmeriCorps members come to us from a variety of different backgrounds and experiences, so it is no surprise that AmeriCorps members go on to pursue a wide variety of pathways after their service year, including but not limited to serving for a second year with Saga, attending graduate or professional school, teaching full-time, working in non-teaching positions in schools, or moving into careers in other fields —such as business, healthcare, or marketing. We’ve seen it all. If you have questions about how a service year as an AmeriCorps member with Saga Education fits in with your specific long-term career goals, we would love to help.

AmeriCorps member Training

 

+ What kind of training will I receive?

AmeriCorps members receive approximately two weeks of training, beginning in mid-August. This training focuses on work orientation, best-practice tutoring strategies, lesson planning, tutorial management, curriculum structures, cultural sensitivity, and how to build relationships with students and the school community. AmeriCorps members also receive ongoing training via weekly tutorial observations and coaching feedback sessions with their Site Directors and weekly Professional Development (PD) sessions.

The Saga Academics Team provides Saga AmeriCorps members with a Saga-generated curriculum that is written specifically for tutorials. AmeriCorps members are not expected to create their own curriculum but are instead trained in how to adapt the given curriculum for their individual students.

AmeriCorps member Responsibilities

 

+ What are my core responsibilities as an AmeriCorps member?

At the core, Saga AmeriCorps members are responsible for tutoring students in mathematics. However, AmeriCorps members do so much more.

In addition to tutoring, as an AmeriCorps member, building strong mentoring relationships with students allows members to support students in ways that extend beyond math. AmeriCorps members often help students resolve disagreements, advise them on personal situations that serve as distractions in the classroom, and support their ability to self-advocate. Saga AmeriCorps members inspire and empower students as they begin to explore high school and beyond.

+ What are other expectations of an AmeriCorps member?

AmeriCorps members maintain grading and attendance trackers for each of their students. AmeriCorps members are expected to complete tasks assigned to them by their Site Director, such as turning in lesson plans.

+ What does a typical day look like for an AmeriCorps member?

AmeriCorps members spend the school year working with a small caseload of students and serve as their mentor while helping them achieve specific academic goals.

An AmeriCorps member’s typical day varies slightly depending on their site placement. In general, AmeriCorps members tutor during seven out of nine class periods throughout the regular school day. Additionally, AmeriCorps members are given a planning period and a 30-minute lunch period. At the end of the school day, AmeriCorps members are responsible for completing a daily feedback form, and any other tasks that require completion before the next day. We invite you to get in touch with current AmeriCorps members and/or Site Directors to hear about first hand experiences.

Saga provides an opportunity to create lifelong relationships with other AmeriCorps members and Site Directors. AmeriCorps members work alongside a team of AmeriCorps members in the same classroom, creating a supportive community and fostering collaboration. In addition, AmeriCorp members work closely with teachers and parents to discuss ways to help students succeed. Some AmeriCorps members may support their students’ extracurricular interests by attending school sporting events or supporting school clubs/organizations. While getting involved in extracurricular activities is never required, it is a great way to engage with students outside of the classroom.

+ How many students will I work with?

Saga AmeriCorps members work with 2 to 4 students per class period. The total number of students that an AmeriCorps member works with depends on whether they serve at a “blended learning” site or a “full-dosage” site.

+ What is the difference between a “blended learning” vs. “full-dosage”site?

Saga Education offers two models of high-impact tutoring.

At our “blended learning” sites, AmeriCorps members typically work with four students per period. AmeriCorps members engage two of the students in a traditional tutorial, while the other two students work independently using the online math learning platform, ALEKS. Students then rotate between tutorials and ALEKS on a daily basis.

At our “full-dosage” sites, AmeriCorps members work with two students per period. AmeriCorps members engage in a tutorial with these same two students everyday during their scheduled class time.

In both models, AmeriCorps members work with the same cohort of students for the duration of the school year.

+ Besides students, who else will I be in contact with?

AmeriCorps members have bi-weekly contact with parents or guardians to update them on their student’s progress —this may be in the form of email, text message, or phone calls. AmeriCorps members will also interact with school teachers, staff, and administration on a regular basis.

Learn more by reading our blog!