Q: What is RESET?
A: RESET is an Internal Revenue Service 501(c)3 nonprofit education organization composed of volunteer science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professionals. Its mission is to motivate children to discover and explore the worlds of science and math, and to encourage them to consider educational and career choices in related fields.
Q: How long has RESET existed?
A: Since 1988
Q: How old is the typical RESET volunteer?
A: RESET volunteers range in age from 21 to 95! Some of our volunteers are still in college, some are working professionals, and some are retired.
Q; What credentials do I need to become a volunteer?
A: RESET volunteers are professional scientists and engineers. They typically have both an educational and occupational background in a STEM field. For the PreKindergarten program, at least one college level course in a STEM field is required. All of our volunteers are committed to STEM education and professions. Volunteers are not required to have teaching experience (see next question).
Q: I don’t have experience in teaching children. Is that okay?
A: Most of our volunteers do not have teaching experience, and many have never worked with young children before. We provide learning resources and training to get you acclimated to the classroom. (See next question.)
Q: How will I be prepared?
A: Volunteers are given plenty of support and training before they walk into a classroom. In addition to an initial briefing by RESET staff and a consultation with your assigned teacher, you will be given the opportunity to participate in volunteer orientation and training sessions and to observe veteran volunteers in the classroom. RESET also provides volunteers with a training video and Volunteer Handbook. Additional support is provided through a regular Blog, a quarterly newsletter, YouTube videos, and the learning resource area on this web site. And finally, RESET has a teacher consultant on staff who is available to observe you in the classroom and provide feedback on how to improve your RESET sessions.
Q: What grade levels and schools does RESET serve?
A: RESET currently offers programs for PreK, elementary, and middle school students. Most of our programs are offered to public elementary schools. We serve schools in the Washington, DC metro area, including Maryland and Northern Virginia.
Q: Will I be assigned a school or can I choose where I want to volunteer?
A: The choice of a school with which you wish to partner is up to you. Several factors may impact that choice. For example, you may be interested in a school that is close to where you live or you may prefer to work with a specific type of student, such as students with special needs, students from low-income neighborhoods, or more advanced learners. Some volunteers prefer working with a specific age group, which can determine what school they partner with. Some volunteers have built strong relationships with particular teachers over the years, and they prefer to continue those relationships. RESET’s Executive Director and Volunteer Coordinator will discuss this with you and match you with a school that best meets your preferences.
Q: How long are RESET programs?
A: RESET programs are typically six-session classroom programs that run in the fall and spring, with a field trip to a STEM-related site. However, volunteers also have the option of participating in extended day, weekend or summer programs. Learn more about your options».
Q: How long is each RESET session?
A: Typically each session lasts between 45 and 60 minutes, which is usually determined by the time scheduled for science in your teacher’s classroom. You will need to also factor in preparation and travel time.
Q: How much of a time commitment will I need to make to RESET each term?
A: New volunteers typically invest more time, as they prepare and train for the program. Teacher consultations, training, preparation of experiments, six classroom sessions, and a field trip amounts to approximately 15 to 20 hours a term.
Q: Do I have to come up with the experiments myself?
A: Volunteers develop their own experiments or are trained in experiments already in use. You’ll find ideas for experiments through the Volunteer Handbook, recommendations from other volunteers, online and library resources, and RESET’s YouTube videos. Web and YouTube searches for elementary science experiments yield many results; you can narrow your search by using a specific science or math field in the search terms (e.g., “geology”). In addition, you will often receive guidance and direction from the teachers themselves.
Q: Do I have to provide my own supplies and equipment?
A: RESET covers the cost of any supplies you need for your experiments. RESET will reimburse you for the cost of materials or will order them on-line to be delivered to you. Contact RESET staff before you incur expenses for equipment and supplies that will exceed $500.
Q: Do I have to do a field trip?
A: The field trip is a nice capstone to what the children learn during their RESET sessions, and most students find it an exciting part of their STEM program. RESET hopes that every program will include a field trip, but in some cases school policies and schedules do not allow for field trips. Unless your school has a budget for field trips, RESET covers transportation and admission fees.
Q: Will I ever be left alone with the children?
A: No. It is the teachers’ responsibility to be present in the classroom the entire time that you’re there. They are responsible for classroom management, if issues arise, and are encouraged to actively participate along with the children in the RESET session.
Q: How do I get started?
A: It’s easy. Simply contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-250-0236, or fill out our Volunteer Signup Form. We’ll contact you as soon as we receive your expression of interest.
Still have questions? Contact RESET today to learn more. email@example.com