Vassar Education Collaboration

Vassar English Language Learners Outreach Program (VELLOP)

The Vassar English Language Learners Outreach Program (VELLOP) provides tutoring services to ELL students throughout the Poughkeepsie City School District. Our focus is on literacy improvement, the importance of bilingualism, and dropout prevention.

The ELL population in the Poughkeepsie school district is made up primarily of Latino, Vietnamese, and Jamaican students, with a few North African students as well. VELLOP offers programs for these students at the Early Learning Center, two Poughkeepsie elementary schools, Poughkeepsie Middle School and Poughkeepsie High School. VELLOP offers programs to support young ELL students at a time when they are vulnerable to increases in the achievement gap. We believe that tutoring with VELLOP connects Vassar students directly with the community they inhabit and the social issues they study in theoretical settings. Finally, as an outreach program, our hope is to connect low-income immigrant families to Vassar resources.

Early Learning Center

  • VELLOP focuses on acquiring the fundamental literacy and arithmetic skills that will carry students through the rest of their educational careers.
  • Tutors from Vassar are paired directly with young ELLs and follow their students’ progress through the semester.
  • Each semester, VELLOP hosts two If You Give a Kid a Book days, where Vassar mentors read and donate books to ELC classrooms. A Holiday Gift Drive providea ELL students with essential gifts.

Krieger Elementary and Warring Elementary

  • VELLOP Elementary program provides iPads and Vassar mentors who work with ELL teachers to help integrate technology into their teaching of young ELLs, as well as providing one-on-one classroom help and/or teacher assistance.
  • Each year is capped with a community event - our Winter Talent Show and our Spring Festival.

Poughkeepsie Middle School

  • We aim to provide a comfortable space for new ELLs to learn the language and culture, and to continue growing academically.
  • We build this space through one-on-one homework help, mentorship, and fun activities that promote bilingualism, including field trips and academic enrichment opportunities, such as trips to the Millbrook Zoo and to programs at Vassar College.
  • To culminate the middle school students’ efforts, VELLOP hosts a community spelling bee each April.

Poughkeepsie High School

  • Our mentors work one-on-one and in small groups with ELLs in their content classes throughout the school day to help them complete their coursework.
  • We teach learning strategies that will make the students better learners in all classes, as well as improve their reading skills and develop academic and career plans.
  • At least once per semester, VELLOP high school students can attend a field trip to Vassar College for enrichment activities such as touring the Vassar art museum or watching a student drama performance.

Together, VELLOP serves over 70 ELL students in 15 different classrooms, with over 60 Vassar mentors per semester.

To become a part of this amazing initiative or for answers to any questions you have, please contact the VELLOP Coordinator at

More information on the program can be found at

Vassar​ ​College​ ​is​ ​grateful​ ​to​ ​United​ ​Way​ ​of​ ​the​ Dutchess-Orange County region​ and the Dyson Foundation​ for their​ ​support​ ​of​ the ​VELLOP​ ​program.