Training will prepare Dysart Unified volunteers

Margee Beardslee, a seasonal resident from Brighton, Mich., serves as a classroom volunteer with Your Experience Counts. She is shown working with third-grade students at Orangewood School. This year she will be supporting fifth-graders at Moon Mountain Elementary. [Submitted photo]

Independent Newsmedia

Your Experience Counts will provide new member training Nov. 6-7 to prepare volunteers to support teachers and students for the winter and spring semesters in the Dysart Unified School District.

“This training is particularly designed for returning seasonal residents and first-time volunteers,” said Mike Beardslee, YEC program manager. “We are finding that snowbirds are increasingly interested in making a community contribution while they are here. The schools appreciate their commitment, even if it is for six months.”

The two-day training will be 9:30 2:30 p.m. at the Washington Elementary School District’s administrative center, 4650 W. Sweetwater Ave.,

Glendale.The program will include a volunteer orientation and methods for managing small learning groups in reading, math and science.

YEC, a program of HandsOn Greater Phoenix, has more than 80 volunteers serving elementary students and teachers in Dysart Unified, Washington, Osborn, Balsz, and Mesa public school districts.

Many volunteers are retired from business, education, military and professional careers. They work with mentor-teachers one or two days per week in grades 3-6.

Several winter visitor volunteers have already returned and resumed their classroom positions. Susan Brzezinski, a Chanhassen, Minn., resident, is returning to El Mirage Elementary for her third year as a YEC volunteer.

“As a former classroom teacher, I know the challenge of trying to spend enough time with each and every student,” she said. “I am happy that I can sit face-to-face with students and give them my undivided attention.”

Ms. Brzezinski has been supporting sixth through eighth grade students in a reading intervention classroom. In this role, she is also able to give support to students who are learning the English language.

“Working individually with students who do not have English as their first language, I am able to see growth and improvement from week to week,” she said. “Because many speak another language at home, it is helpful to have a 15-20 minute block of time when they are reading, speaking and writing in English with feedback and encouragement.”

Another winter visitor, Margee Beardslee, mother of YEC’s Mike Beardslee, has returned from her home in Brighton, Mich., and will start her fifth year as a volunteer at Moon Mountain Elementary in the Washington District,

“I am not available for the full school year,” she said. “But the teachers are thankful for the time I am able to support students who need extra help. The flexibility makes it perfect for someone like myself who resides in the Valley from November to April.”

To register for training, or for more information about volunteering, contact Beardslee at, 623-223-9248, or visit

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