Frequently Asked Questions
The following are questions and their responses that often arise in reference to the Correspondence Match program. We hope these FAQs can answer any questions you might have. If, however, you still have questions after reading this page or the program handbooks, feel free to contact us.
- Q: What is the Coverdell World Wise Schools Correspondence Match program?
- A: The Correspondence Match program facilitates correspondence between an educator, his or her students, and a currently serving Peace Corps Volunteer. Participants exchange letters, stories, artifacts, photos, e-mail messages, and even phone calls. ^ Back to Top
- Q: Who can participate?
- A: Educators teaching at any type of school (public, private, home school), at any grade level (kindergarten, middle school, high school, college), in any setting (classroom, Scout group, after-school program) can participate in the Correspondence Match program. ^ Back to Top
- Q: Is this a pen-pal program?
- A: No. Letter writing is a key component of the correspondence match, but World Wise Schools is not a pen-pal exchange. The correspondence is between the U.S. educator and students, on the one hand, and the Peace Corps Volunteer. Usually the educator and students write collective letters to the Volunteer. If, however, a Volunteer teacher and an educator wish to make this a student-to-student pen-pal exchange, they are free to do so. But please keep in mind that no Volunteer or teacher is required to do so, and not all Volunteers work with school-age children. ^ Back to Top
- Q: Why should I enroll in the Correspondence Match program?
- A: Your correspondence with a Peace Corps Volunteer can enhance your students' learning in almost any subject area. There are Peace Corps Volunteers in every region of the world working at the grass-roots level. Their stories, projects, and experiences can provide U.S. students with unusually candid firsthand perspectives of cultures worldwide, views not usually accessible through textbooks, films, and other familiar media. ^ Back to Top
- Q: How can I enroll in the World Wise Schools Correspondence Match program?
- A: You can enroll in the Correspondence Match program by downloading the World Wise Schools teacher enrollment form and returning it to World Wise Schools by fax or postal mail. You can also request an enrollment form via phone, letter, or e-mail. Please remember to include your address.
As you complete your form, consider your preferences for Volunteers. Is there a specific country, region, language, or type of work your students would be interested in?
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- Q: If I signed up with a specific Volunteer, am I guaranteed a correspondence with that Volunteer?
- A: Yes. This kind of match is called a special request match. If you know your Volunteer's name and address, you are free to start your correspondence at any time. However, to be officially enrolled in the program, please submit a completed enrollment form stating your Volunteer's name and country of service. ^ Back to Top
- Q: How long does it take to be matched to a Volunteer once I enroll?
- A: This depends on the number of Volunteers waiting for an educator match at the time of the request. When the supply of Volunteers is low, educators can expect to spend more time waiting. Generally, educators can expect to wait from one to three months before being matched to a Volunteer. Often, however, educators' requests can be met more quickly. ^ Back to Top
- Q: May I be matched to more than one Volunteer?
- A: Yes. You many request as many Volunteer matches as you like. Some educators request matches from many different regions or program sectors. Be sure to consider your goals for the match and any time constraints as you decide how many Volunteer matches you would like. ^ Back to Top
- Q: How often do I correspond with the Volunteer?
- A: World Wise Schools asks that the educator and Volunteer exchange a letter or e-mail each month. We find it is best to set aside the same day each month for writing your letter. This way you and the Volunteer are ensured a lasting and productive correspondence.
If you have not heard from your Volunteer for a while, do not wait for a letter before writing again. This sort of "question and response" exchange can be difficult to sustain due to postal difficulties, and it can lead to several months of silence while both of you wait for a letter. We also suggest that you number your letters so that you and the Volunteer can more easily keep track of the letters that have been sent and received.
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- Q: What do I do if I haven't heard from my Volunteer for many months?
- A: If you have accounted for postal delays and still have not heard from your Volunteer, contact World Wise Schools so you can explain your situation to a staff member. You may do this via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 800.424.8580. If you contact us by phone, dial extension 1450. World Wise Schools staff are ready to assist you in any problems that may arise. Please remember, World Wise Schools will not know that you are having communication difficulties with your Volunteer unless we hear from you. ^ Back to Top
- Q: Do I get a new Volunteer at the beginning of every school year?
- A: No. Generally your correspondence will last the duration of the Volunteer's Peace Corps service—roughly 2 years. However, occasionally other circumstances arise (e.g., the Volunteer finishes service early, or waited to enroll in the match program until the second year of service, or the Volunteer must be evacuated from the country) that will shorten the duration of the match. If this happens, please contact us and we will be happy to match you with another Volunteer. ^ Back to Top
- Q: What happens to the correspondence during our summer months when U.S. teachers are on break?
- A: Though your school breaks for the summer months, the Volunteer continues to work and live in the host country. We ask that you remember your Volunteer by continuing to correspond with him or her over your summer months. You can use these months as a time to reflect on what worked and what didn't, and plan for the coming school year. ^ Back to Top
- Q: Do educators and Volunteers have to follow a set curriculum while corresponding?
- A: No. Educators and Volunteers share the responsibility of shaping their exchange and choosing the content of their correspondence. The World Wise Schools Handbook for Educators and Volunteers serves as a guide for those participating in the correspondence match, offering suggestions for the correspondence. There is no required curriculum that teachers and Volunteers must follow, but CWWS offers a wide array of resources that we encourage teachers and Volunteers to use. ^ Back to Top
- Q: Do I receive information on the Volunteer's country of service?
- A: No. The educator does not receive educational materials that describe the Volunteer's country of service. Teachers will receive the educational materials World Wise Schools produces while they are enrolled in the program, along with the Handbook for Educators and Volunteers. ^ Back to Top
- Q: What happens if I am unable to continue corresponding with my Volunteer match?
- A: If you change schools or addresses, retire, take a sabbatical, or are no longer the main educator corresponding with your Volunteer, please contact us immediately at email@example.com. You may also call 800.424.8580, extension 1450. ^ Back to Top
- Q: Does World Wise Schools assist educators in paying postage costs?
- A: No. World Wise Schools does not assist educators with postage costs. ^ Back to Top
- Q: Can more than one educator from the same school enroll in the Correspondence Match program?
- A: Yes, any interested educator can enroll in the Correspondence Match program. We encourage you to tell your colleagues about the program. Many Correspondence Match educators share their correspondence with other classrooms within their school. ^ Back to Top
- Q: What happens when my Volunteer finishes service?
- A: World Wise Schools will send you a re-enrollment letter when your Volunteer completes his or her overseas service. You can use this opportunity to connect with a new Volunteer in the same country, or you can request a match from a different area. This is also a great time to invite your Volunteer to visit your students in person. ^ Back to Top
- Q: Can I help my Volunteer with his or her projects?
- A: Yes. The Peace Corps Partnership Program, administered from Peace Corps headquarters, provides an easy opportunity for World Wise Schools educators and students to participate in Peace Corps' work by combining project sponsorship and cross-cultural exchange. If you are interested, we encourage you to visit the Peace Corps Partnership website for more information. ^ Back to Top
- Q: Can I participate in other World Wise Schools options and be enrolled in the Correspondence Match program, too?
- A: Yes. Please take advantage of all our educational materials and programs. ^ Back to Top