AmeriCorps in Action

Tutor Sets Sights on Career as School Social Worker 

Becoming a Scholar Coach has been just what Alexis needed to propel her career forward as a social worker.

Before joining AmeriCorps, she worked in daycare for over 15 years while raising a daughter of her own. In 2023, she was ready for a change and decided to pursue a college degree. While taking classes online, Alexis’s sister suggested she look into Reading Corps. 

“I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to actually be in a school and network with teachers, social workers, and students, and to just be more of a face in the public school system,” she says. 

Now on track toward becoming a school social worker, Alexis is serving full-time as a Scholar Coach during the day and attending college part-time for sociology in the evenings. Spending each day in a second-grade classroom, she’s getting great experience, all while helping students build the reading skills they need to succeed. 

Being a Scholar Coach 

Scholar Coaches serve as part of the Total Learning Classroom, a targeted initiative within Reading Corps. Scholar Coaches collaborate with a K-3 teacher to provide classroom support throughout the day and conduct individual or paired tutoring sessions with students who need an extra boost. Alexis works with second graders. Because she’s part of their classroom every day, she builds especially strong connections with her students and stays involved with what they’re learning. 

“You can get deeper and learn about the kids more because you’re seeing them not only for 20 minutes in a tutoring session, but throughout the day,” she says. “You can really see what they’re working on and how it correlates to what they’re reading and what passages you can pick. I have some kids who are working on O-W and O-U sounds in class, so we can point out words in their passages from tutoring.” 

When she’s not tutoring, Alexis also promotes scholastic engagement during regular classroom hours and literacy blocks, helping students become better readers. Alexis likes to follow “how the teacher is teaching” and does what she can to help students to understand material. Oftentimes, a group of Scholar Coaches are all placed in different classrooms, but at the same school. Alexis is one of five at her school in Minneapolis and savors being part of the team. 

“We work together,” she says. “I’ll bounce ideas off them. If I’m struggling with an intervention or I need some tips, they’re there. We’re just a real solid team here, and it’s fun to watch their relationship with their students. I could say so many good things about the people that I work with.” 

Connecting with Students 

Recently, Alexis put this teamwork in action when she offered to support another Scholar Coach with a student who was struggling. 

“I went back to my coach and asked if I could read with him three days out of the week. I felt like that would really help him,” she says. “She said ‘yes, go for it.’ So, we read yesterday, and I could see the smile on his face. There was this one word: universe. He got to it, and he was like, ‘I know it.’ And so I waited. Usually, we give them three seconds and tell them the word, but he’s like, ‘I know it,’ so I just waited. Then he’s like ‘universe!’ And I feel like we made a connection.” 

On top of supporting classrooms and tutoring students, Scholar Coaches also act as another layer of community for students. Their steady presence can offer a sense of familiarity when life changes both inside and outside the classroom. 

“If we’re here every day and we’re present and we’re focused, I feel like that rubs off on them,” she says. “The children just got a new teacher. When their other teacher left, I was the person who was here for them. I felt like that helped then transition.” 

Loving Service 

Now finishing her first school year with the Total Learning Initiative, Alexis is excited to come back to Reading Corps for 2024-25 and continue getting valuable experience. 

“I’ve worked in a lot of roles, but this is my favorite,” she says. “I’m excited to come to work every day and excited to learn and try new things. The trainings were exceptional. The staff and management are exceptional. They trust us to get the job done and know that we’re making a difference. And the kids: you really fall in love with them after just a few weeks. Seeing them blossom and seeing them gain skills is my favorite part.” 

Giving students the tools they need to succeed is what Reading Corps is all about! We are so excited to be part of Alexis’ career journey and are happy to have her return to serve again next school year. If you or someone you know are interested in joining Alexis as a Scholar Coach in 2024-25, visit to learn more and apply. 

Skip to content