Volunteer and Scholar Coordinator

Website HigherAchieve Higher Achievement

Closing the opportunity gap for middle school youth

Higher Achievement, a nationally acclaimed nonprofit organization working to close the achievement gap for motivated, yet underserved students from low-income communities, seeks a Volunteer and Scholar Coordinator. Higher Achievement showers our scholars with academic opportunities through a proven program model which includes a 27-week Afterschool Academy from October to May and a six-week Summer Academy from June to August.

Reporting to the Center Director, the Volunteer and Student Coordinator (VSC) is responsible for the recruitment, training, and support of Higher Achievement volunteers, including volunteers participating in year-round and one-time opportunities. In addition, the VSC holds a key role in supporting middle school scholars and coordindating events and field trips during Higher Achievement’s Afterschool and Summer Academies.

The VSC is expected to be at his/her Center during its hours of operation and in the office outside of these hours preparing for optimal center operations.

The Organization

Higher Achievement works to close the achievement gap for motivated, yet underserved, students from low-income communities. We intervene during the critical transition to middle school by providing year-round, multi-year support for students in the 5th – 8th grades. As they prepare to graduate from the 8th grade, we help them transition successfully to advanced high school programs that keep them on track for college. On average, 96% of Higher Achievement scholars who complete the program advance to top academic high school programs and 94% advance to college.

Founded in 1975 in Washington, DC as a grassroots effort to create learning opportunities for children in low-income neighborhoods, Higher Achievement has impacted the lives of more than 10,000 young people, and currently operates achievement centers in Washington, DC, Alexandria, VA, Baltimore, MD, Pittsburgh, PA, and Richmond, VA. Higher Achievement’s model of rigorous academic mentoring, individualization of services, and comprehensive academic support is guided by leading research for effective out-of-school time programs. Our focus on the middle school transition, academic rigor, and multi-year, year round exposure distinguish us from other programs. Higher Achievement’s partnership model was recently highlighted by the Harvard Family Research Project, and the organization’s focus on preventing summer learning loss was featured in an MSNBC special report, “Making the Grade”. In 2011, we received the MetLife Innovator in Afterschool Award for Aligning Afterschool with the School Day, further highlighting the strength of our program. More information about Higher Achievement may be found at: http://www.higherachievement.org.

Key Duties and Responsibilities

Mentor Recruitment and Management

  • Recruit and interview mentors: conduct outreach to existing and new neighborhood and university partnerships to recruit between 40 and 60 volunteer mentors by the opening of Afterschool Academy
  • Lead efforts to maintain mentor roster throughout the year
  • Serve as liaison to the Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania and the United Way of Allegheny County volunteer efforts to assure mentor recruitment collaboration
  • Implement Higher Achievement’s mentor training program; support Higher Achievement’s mentor training at additional site(s) as needed
  • Ensure that mentors are supported as they uphold Higher Achievement’s rigorous standards of culture and Seminar curricula as relevant.
  • Plan and implement mentor recognition activities in collaboration with Recruiter twice per year
  • Serve as the primary contact for all volunteer mentors during Afterschool Academy
  • Communicate with mentors on a regular basis, including trainings, emails, and sharing data and important information Maintain connections between scholars and volunteer mentors during
  • Summer Academy by coordinating visits, regular communications with mentors, etc.
  • Manage scheduling of mentors and creating mentor groups, using scholar academic data when appropriate
  • Conduct observations of mentoring sessions and provide feedback and support to mentors
  • Implement Higher Achievement systems for attendance tracking, record-keeping, scholar evaluation, and communication with mentors
  • Serve as liaison between mentors and other staff regarding implementation of Scholar Achievement
  • Plans and supplemental work
  • Coordinate one-time volunteers, projects, and partnerships, including planning and implementation
  • Focus on developing culture and community-building with mentors

Event Planning

  • Plan for and execute five center special events per year: secure and train judges, emcees, and volunteers; oversee scholar prep; design invitations and decorations; coordinate marketing of the event to center community
  • Coordinate logistics of weekly field trips and three-day overnight university trip in the summer, including logistics, researching special exhibits, and orienting teachers to the schedule for each trip

Center Management and Support

  • Manage all mentor-related and general supplies at Center: take inventory at the start and end of each term. Place supply request to ensure that Center is fully stocked with needed materials
  • Provide support to the Center Director for large group management of scholars and ensure scholars are on task in classrooms
  • Provide an elective during Summer Academy
  • Provide small-group instruction and/or tutoring as needed during academic blocks

The duties listed above are intended only as illustrations of the various types of work that may be performed. The omission of specific statements of duties does not exclude them if the work is similar, related, or a logical assignment to the position.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Commitment to the mission and work of Higher Achievement
  • Understanding of best practices in volunteer management, including recognition, motivation and appreciation
  • Bachelor’s Degree plus at least one year of related experience (volunteer management, youth development, etc.) or a minimum of three years related experience
  • Experience with training adults, ideally in the areas of education and instructional support
  • Experience working directly with students required; experience working with middle school youth strongly preferred
  • Experience with managing volunteers
  • Interest in community building, mentoring and youth development
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills; ability to effectively communicate to large groups of people, including making public presentations and community outreach
  • Strong skills in planning, organizing, and attention to detail
  • Strong technology skills in technology; comfortable using/learning to use a database

Higher Achievement Core Competencies: Higher Achievement values our core competencies, and as such, we expect that competitive applications will be able to demonstrate strengths in these areas:

  • Proactively builds relationships to advance Higher Achievement’s mission.
  • Uses candid communication to express ideas and to listen to the thoughts and feedback of others.
  • Persistently pursues excellence by holding oneself to high expectations and seeking the best.
  • Possesses a growth mindset for learning new things and stepping out of one’s comfort zone.
  • Maintains a solutions-oriented mindset during planning periods and when challenges arise.

Compensation and Benefits: The salary for this regular, full-time, exempt position is in the mid thirties, commensurate with skills and experience. Higher Achievement offers competitive benefits, including: company-paid insurance (medical, dental, vision, life, and long and short-term disability insurance); eleven paid holidays; six weeks paid time off; retirement plan with company match; tuition reimbursement and professional development funds.

Physical Requirements and Work Environment: Work is regularly performed in an office environment and a school setting, with occasional trips off-site to parks, museums, etc. Employee may spend long periods of time sitting, standing, and walking. Must be able to walk from one part of the worksite to another and climb stairs. Employee regularly lifts, carries, and positions objects weighting up to 20 pounds. Position involves regular use of a computer and keyboard, telephone, and face-to-face communication in small and large group settings with youth and adults; employee must be able to communicate clearly and professionally in all of these situations. Employee must have visual, auditory, and physical ability to respond quickly to critical incidents involving students and act in an emergency situation.

Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Additional Information: The Volunteer and Scholar Coordinator works primarily Monday through Friday; occasional weekend availability is required. Each center runs programming four days per week. On center days during the school year, the VSC works (on average), a 11:30am to 7:30pm schedule, with the first half of the day on-site at the Higher Achievement office and the second half of the day on-site at the school where the Center is based. On non-center days, the VSC works primarily on-site at Higher Achievement with a standard business schedule. During the summer, work occurs primarily during standard teacher school day hours. Candidate must have ability to travel in between main office and Achievement Center on a daily basis via reliable transportation. This position requires a criminal background check prior to hire, and candidate must be able to pass all additional clearance requirements as mandated by school districts and state/local municipalities.

To Apply: Please submit your resume and cover letter via the link below. Priority consideration will be given to applicants who address the listed qualifications and their interest in the mission and work of Higher Achievement in their cover letter and submit their application by August 17th. Applications will be accepted until position is filled; interested applicants are encouraged to apply immediately. Please, no phone calls, emails or recruiters.

Higher Achievement provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants without regard to race, color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, ancestry, gender, sex, gender identity or expression, age, medical condition, sexual orientation, marital status, citizenship, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, genetic information, veteran status, military status, caregiver or family status, political affiliation, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local laws.

To apply for this job please visit higherachievement.org.