In February of 2011, Goshen Community Schools received an Education Innovation Grant from the United Way of Elkhart County. The grant funds will be used to cover the cost of a new part time Coordinator of Volunteers, Michelle Kercher.

The Coordinator of Volunteers will begin working with three elementary schools this school year, and will work to build relationships with others for the future. Through a relationship with United Way of Elkhart County, the Goshen Community Schools will be incorporating various volunteer opportunities, which will allow community members to become involved in the Goshen Schools. Beginning this school year Model, Parkside, and West Goshen Elementary Schools will participate in two reading initiatives. The first being the Real Men Read Program, which will be held this fall and matches men from the Goshen community with a 2nd grade classroom for a four week period. During this four week period, each man will visit his assigned classroom to share a read aloud story and interesting ways reading helps him in his career field.  The Coordinator will also work within the community to secure volunteers to participate in Reading Camps to be offered at the same three elementary schools from February-April 2012. Reading Camps will be run two days per week for one hour after school as a means to provide extra practice to 2nd grade readers.

If you are interested in volunteering in the Goshen Community Schools, please contact:

Michelle Kercher
Coordinator of Volunteers/Goshen Academic Partners (GAP)
Phone: 574-535-3086

Below is an report on a reading camp held earlier this year:

“The first Reading Camp in the Goshen Community Schools is officially “in the books!” Every Tuesday and Thursday from April 12th through May 19th, twenty-three dedicated volunteers spent one hour of their week with one or two Model Elementary 2nd grade students. The volunteers and students spent time reading together at the student’s independent level, as well as, working on comprehension and word building. Activities were created in small, but meaningful time frames to hold the student’s attention and to provide variety.

Model Elementary was a pilot site for future Reading Camps in Goshen Community Schools and was funded by a Mini-Grant from the United Way of Elkhart County. Both Model Elementary and Goshen Schools wish to thank the United Way for offering this opportunity to our students. We look forward to many more Reading Camps in the Goshen Schools. Goshen Community Schools will be looking for more volunteers in the coming months so please consider how you can help the children of our community.”

About Michelle Kercher

Michelle is a graduate of Goshen Community Schools and Butler University with a degree in Elementary Education. She comes to Goshen Community Schools with a variety of experiences in both the education field and in recruiting volunteers. Prior to staying home with her children, Michelle was a kindergarten teacher for six years. She continued to stay involved in education by serving as Director of Good Shepherd Nursery School for five years. While staying home, Michelle has also volunteered her time as Model Elementary School PTO President, a position she still maintains; and also worked within the community as an active member of Psi Iota Xi sorority. Michelle lives in Goshen with her husband, Steve, and her three elementary aged children.