WHO WE ARE: ACCELERATE NORTHFIELD is a collaboration among parents, community members and organizations dedicated to improving the academic performance of local students. In other words, we help transform students into LEARNING SUPERHEROES! In the years since first assisting students, ACCELERATE‘s reach has grown. Its volunteer tutors work with students primarily in NORTHFIELD SCHOOL DISTRICT‘s three elementary schools.
WHAT WE DO: ACCELERATE NORTHFIELD’s job is to recruit community members to become volunteer tutors. No experience is necessary, except for a passion to help transform Northfield elementary students into LEARNING SUPERHEROES! Our tutors meet with students on an individual basis or in small groups. While most of our volunteers are students at St. Olaf and Carleton colleges, we are grateful to have a large representation of Northfield adults among our ranks. Tutors are asked to help out at least one hour a week.
WHY WE DO IT: The mission of ACCELERATE and its volunteers to work toward the success for ALL students, regardless of color, ethnicity, economic status, belief system or gender. We were established to assist Northfield schools in reducing Northfield’s achievement gap. The achievement gap is the differences in academic performance between groups of students. (CLICK HERE to read more about the achievement gap in Minnesota.)
HOW WERE WE FOUNDED: ACCELERATE — brainchild of longtime Northfield education advocates Fritz Bogott and Rachel Matney — was founded during the 2011-2012 school year. Relying on the partners like the Reads and Counts program at Carleton and St. Olaf colleges and from community tutors, ACCELERATE and its volunteers contributed more than 24,000 volunteer hours that first year. The program started with a three-prong educational philosophy: intensive one-one reading, reading support and enrichment challenge for high-achieving students. The following year, ACCELERATE began focusing on tutoring students at risk of falling into the achievement gap. Its efforts got a boost from a three-year VISTA grant, which provided funding for a staff member to help administer the program. In subsequent years, ACCELERATE tutors have annually contributed thousands of hours of volunteer tutoring. The program has also become a function of Northfield Public Schools. Partnering with Accelerate Northfield are the NORTHFIELD HEALTHY COMMUNITIES INITIATIVE, CARLETON COLLEGE, ST. OLAF COLLEGE and NORTHFIELD PROMISE.