An Important Program Update

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An Important Announcement from STAIR-Annapolis

Posted by STAIR-Annapolis on September 22, 2021

Dear Friends of STAIR-Annapolis,

We write to you today with another important program update.

The STAIR-Annapolis Administrative Staff and Board of Directors has made the difficult decision to postpone the STAIR tutoring program.

The STAIR staff and board will reassess the possibility of a return to in-person programming in January of 2022.

The health and safety of STAIR volunteers and the students we serve is our primary concern. We deeply regret that STAIR cannot confidently return to in-person programming this fall, and we share your disappointment in this unfortunate development.

Over the next few months, STAIR staff will continue working to prepare for a safe return in 2022. Our commitment to nurturing relationships with students, families, and our valued volunteers is unchanged.

Another thing that hasn't changed is our desire to meet striving young readers where they are in these uncertain times. That's why the STAIR Family Website is open and available to all. This wonderful resource includes videos, activities, and reading resources provided by STAIR-Annapolis volunteers. The STAIR Family Website helps families "Start The Adventure In Reading" at home. You're invited to visit and see for yourself at https://stairannapolis.org/forfamilies/ .

Your patience and support at this time are sincerely appreciated. While this is not the news any of us hoped for, we know STAIR will be back stronger than ever once the pandemic meaningfully recedes.

The entire STAIR-Annapolis Administrative Staff and Board of Directors sends best wishes for your good health and well-being.

Warmly,

Laura, Erin, Malena & Julieta
STAIR-Annapolis Administrative Staff

Welcome, Deni Henson!

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Welcome, Deni Henson!

Posted by STAIR-Annapolis on September 8, 2021

STAIR-Annapolis is pleased to announce the addition of Deni Henson to our Board of Directors.

As an engaged community advocate in the greater Annapolis area, Deni comes to STAIR with a desire to impact the lives of local students. She is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Charles W. “Hoppy” Adams Jr. Foundation, an organization dedicated to implementing and establishing programs that support educational, social, emotional, recreational, and faith-based growth for youth and adults living in Annapolis and the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. metro area. Deni also serves as the current President of the historic Peerless Rens Club, a social organization that has been creating community in Eastport since 1948.

A mother of two and a former foster mom of 16, Deni believes that a well-developed love of reading can take you many places. She worked hard to teach her own children the importance of reading and now hopes to pass that along to a new generation through her work with STAIR-Annapolis.

“My favorite people are children, and anything I can do to help a child is where my passion lies,” Deni explains.

A native Annapolitan, Deni earned her BFA in Technical Theatre from Howard University and worked in radio and television for many years. She is also a screenwriter, a documentary filmmaker, and in 2016 was honored as a recipient of the Fannie Lou Hamer Award by the City of Annapolis.

In her spare time, Deni enjoys reading, writing, travel, and is an avid doll collector.

We’re so fortunate to have the benefit of Deni’s community-building expertise and are excited about the value she’ll bring to the STAIR-Annapolis Board!

Streamlined Volunteer Training Experience Readies Tutors for Action

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Streamlined Volunteer Training Experience Readies Tutors for Action

Posted by STAIR-Annapolis on August 25, 2021

As we await return guidelines from our partners in education at Anne Arundel County Public Schools, the recent launch of the STAIR-Annapolis Volunteer Dashboard is helping to ensure that our valued volunteers are ready to go as soon as our plans for in-person programming are finalized.

We've revolutionized training and pre-session administrative tasks for volunteers, meaning less paperwork and fewer processing delays. Volunteers have 24/7 access to pre-recorded training videos and slides, direct links to AACPS-required security checks and verification, a curated library of resources to help improve tutoring sessions, and so much more. This means our volunteers don't have to wait to Start The Adventure In Reading with STAIR! We've provided everything they need to learn about our organization, our curriculum, our policies, and how building a trusting, caring relationship with a second grader in need of reading support can make a lifelong difference for both tutor and child.

So many STAIR-Annapolis volunteers have already taken advantage of the offerings on the Volunteer Dashboard and we anticipate even more engagement as we draw closer to the beginning of the school year and our inevitable return to in-person programming.

Tell us: Have you explored the Volunteer Dashboard yet? Which resources have you found most helpful?

Join the conversation by leaving your comments on this post or by visiting us on Facebook!

What We Did On Our Summer Vacation

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What We Did On Our Summer Vacation

Posted by STAIR-Annapolis on August 18, 2021

We're halfway through August, which means September is just around the corner. As students and teachers across Anne Arundel County prepare to return to the classroom this year--some for the first time in nearly two years!--we want to pause and look back on our Summer 2021 initiatives.

Thanks to the generosity of our many donors and the unwavering support of many volunteers, STAIR-Annapolis was able to implement a full three months of programming that boosted "summer brain gain," kept students engaged in reading adventures, increased our outreach, and offered a helping hand to our valued community partners.

It was a great summer, but we're looking forward to our return to in-person programming for the 2021-2022 school year! Details are coming soon as we await guidance from our partners at Anne Arundel County Public Schools. Be sure to check back often and keep an eye on our calendar for the latest news.

We mailed more than 1,000 books to students in June, July, and August. All 120 second graders enrolled in this year's STAIR At Home program received monthly packages filled with age-appropriate, diverse books throughout the summer.

We hosted four successful STAIR Book Fairs, giving away dozens of free books to young readers throughout Annapolis and in South Anne Arundel County.

We partnered with community organizations like Reading Camp Maryland and Reading Camp South County to gift books to students participating in their summer programming.

With the help of our wonderful volunteers, we made sure Little Free Libraries in the neighborhoods where STAIR students live were stocked with books for readers of all ages. In all, we visited a dozen Little Free Libraries in Annapolis, South County, Crofton, and Severn.

We participated in several community events, including a regular weekly booth at the SoCo Farmer's Market at Deale Library, a stop at the Shady Side 4th of July Parade, and a visit to National Night Out, where we had a great conversation with Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman. STAIR-Annapolis Program Manager Julieta Slattery made sure every young reader who stopped by our table got to choose a book to take home!

The New Volunteer Dashboard is Here!

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The New Volunteer Dashboard is Here!

Posted by STAIR-Annapolis on July 28, 2021

It's no secret that volunteering with STAIR-Annapolis is an incredible experience. We're so thankful for our volunteers and are always looking for ways to offer support and encouragement as they work toward building relationships and improving the lives of young readers in our community.

To that end, we're pleased to introduce a new way to manage the processes and paperwork necessary to becoming a STAIR-Annapolis tutor: The Volunteer Dashboard!

The Volunteer Dashboard has been designed as a one-stop spot for everything new and returning volunteers need to stay on track and up-to-speed with our organization.

Let's take a look!



The Volunteer Checklist is the starting point for interacting with the Dashboard. It's a printable document that outlines all the steps required to serve as a STAIR-Annapolis volunteer. The checklist is an easy way for you to stay organized as you move through the Dashboard, and helps STAIR-Annapolis staff ensure each volunteer has completed all the necessary requirements before the first day of tutoring.


It's now easier than ever to access STAIR-Annapolis Volunteer Training whenever it's most convenient for you. We've refreshed our training this year, offering two different on-demand videos, each with a distinctive focus. Part 1 is called "Getting Ready to Volunteer" and Part 2 is called "Working with Your Student." Hosted by our very own Volunteer Coordinator, Malena Ruland, these videos cover everything from a brief history of STAIR-Annapolis to useful tips and tricks to enhance tutoring sessions. Presentation slides are included, too, and these can be downloaded and saved for future reference.



Anne Arundel County Public Schools requires all volunteers to view and verify the AACPS-produced Sexual Harassment and Child Abuse Video every year. This video is now embedded on the STAIR-Annapolis Volunteer Dashboard, where we've also added a convenient verification form. In just a few minutes, you can have this task checked off your list and the results are sent directly to STAIR staff!



All STAIR-Annapolis volunteers must submit a background check in order to work with the children enrolled in our program. These background checks are good for two years, after which a new application has to be submitted. The Volunteer Dashboard includes an entire page dedicated to this essential element of tutoring with STAIR. We've created a helpful how-to video to guide you through the process, a direct link to initiate the background check application, and a verification form that notifies STAIR staff that the application has been completed.



Occasionally, STAIR-Annapolis will offer small group in-person training sessions. When these sessions are scheduled, volunteers will be able to access registration links from the Volunteer Dashboard. Be sure to check our Facebook page and website calendar for announcements regarding in-person training opportunities!



The Tutor Resource section of the Volunteer Dashboard contains links, videos, and other resources to help our volunteers make the most of every tutoring session. We're always seeking out content that will help tutors feel prepared to work with students no matter where they are or what literacy skills they need the most support with. This section will be updated frequently, and we hope it'll offer our valued volunteers a go-to source for tips and tricks to ensure success!



STAIR-Annapolis volunteers are dedicated to asking all the right questions in an effort to bring their very best to every tutoring session. The FAQ section of the Volunteer Dashboard is here to help, with a list of some of the most common questions new and experienced tutors have about joining the STAIR program, working with second graders, and following STAIR-Annapolis policies and procedures. We'll add to this list often, so if you have a question you don't see just let us know!


We're really excited about bringing this new tool to our volunteers. It's our sincere hope that the Volunteer Dashboard helps simplify the administrative tasks that our volunteers must complete before the first day of STAIR so they can focus on getting to know their students and starting the adventure in reading together!

Mid-Summer Check In

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Mid-Summer Check In

Posted by STAIR-Annapolis on July 14, 2021

Greetings from STAIR Summer Reading!

We've reached the halfway point of the summer and STAIR's summer reading initiatives are going strong. It's been such a pleasure to spread the love of reading to children all across Anne Arundel County!

All 120 students enrolled in our 2020-2021 at-home program continue to receive new books for home libraries every month. So far this summer, we've mailed more than 700 books to young readers. With one final book package set to ship to each student in early August, we're confident that these rising third graders are well on their way to becoming life-long readers. The STAIR-Annapolis Class of 2021 will always have a special place in our hearts because of the joy and enthusiasm with which they embraced our modified program. We send these students on their way to new reading adventures with lots of love and our very best wishes for success.

Not surprisingly, the highlight of the summer for all of us here at STAIR-Annapolis has been STAIR Book Fairs. In addition to the three we originally planned with our partners at the City of Annapolis and the Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis--at the Eastport Community Center, Robinwood Community Center, and Stanton Community Center--we also had the opportunity to host a fourth event in South Anne Arundel County at the annual Shady Side 4th of July parade. It was so awesome to see so many familiar faces and to meet so many new friends at these events! We gave away hundreds of free books to young readers of all ages, connected with families, got to share the STAIR story with potential volunteers, and spread the love of reading throughout the communities we serve.

Special thanks to our community partners at the City and HACA who were so supportive of our efforts and helped make these STAIR Book Fairs such a huge success!

STAIR-Annapolis staff and volunteers continue to use donated books to restock Little Free Libraries throughout Anne Arundel County, making sure all readers have easy access to books close to home. If you have books to donate or would like to join us in this important summer initiative, please feel free to contact our Program Manager Julieta Slattery, who is spearheading the LFL program this year. Julieta can be reached at program_manager@stairannapolis.org.

As we've previously shared, STAIR-Annapolis is preparing for a return to in-person programming for the upcoming school year. We are thrilled to be able to go back to normal operations, facilitating one-on-one interaction between second graders in need of reading support and dedicated volunteers who give of their time to help students improve basic literacy skills.

To that end, we're actively recruiting volunteers for every STAIR-Annapolis site. The number of students we can serve grows with every volunteer who commits, so there’s never been a better time to join us! You’ll find more information about volunteering as a STAIR-Annapolis tutor and a link to our volunteer application at https://stairannapolis.org/volunteer/.

In our ongoing efforts to modernize communications, we’re proud to announce a new online resource exclusively for volunteers that complements our webpage for families. The STAIR-Annapolis Volunteer Dashboard is a comprehensive portal with everything you need to tutor with STAIR. We’ve linked training videos for new and returning volunteers, AACPS security and background check requirements, Frequently Asked Questions, tutor tips, and much more, with a printable checklist to help you keep track of it all!

We're really excited about what this year has in store for STAIR-Annapolis and for striving young readers in our community.

Won't you join us?