United Way works to promote education for all children and students
Education is the cornerstone of individual and community success. However, many factors affect a child's ability to perform in the classroom. This is why United Way partners with many different agencies and organizations to work towards preparing children for kindergarten, reading at grade level, graduating high school, and pursing their educational and vocational goals. The trends in education are not always promising. In fact, more than 1.2 million children drop out each year. The cost? These trends are reversible, but only when communities and public, private and nonprofit sectors work together. More than $312 billion in lost wages, taxes and productivity over their lifetimes.1
To improve the number of students in Jo Daviess, Stephenson, and Carroll Counties that are reading at grade level by third grade and to promote "kindergarten readiness" to ensure students start their educational careers off on the right foot.
We can’t focus on 3rd grade alone. Often times the "risk factors" that affect a child's ability to perform at grade level are present from an early age. The sooner we reach this child, their parents, and others in their support system the better chance we have in promoting a positive outcome. United Way's model focuses on supportive communities, effective schools and strong families — strategies and approaches rooted in research. Tackling the education challenge requires reframing education on a birth to 21 continuum.
The United Way of NWIL has provided children access to the Dolly Parton Imagination Library in Jo Daviess, Stephenson, and Carroll Counties. This book gifting program provides more than 2500 books each month from birth until their 5th birthday. This program has shown to increase a child's vocabulary and better prepare them for kindergarten. Learn more about the program here.
964 children are being assessed using a common curriculum and assessment tool, Teaching Strategies Gold (TSG), and nine early childhood centers are working together to provide coordinated results. Of those 964 students, the following are meeting TSG standards for their age group:
91% Social-Emotional Standards
89% Language Standards
85% Cognitive Standards
83% Literacy (emergent reading) Standards
87% Literacy (writes name) Standards
83% Mathematic Standards
The "It Takes a Village" reading mentor program was kicked off in the Freeport School District. This provided 25 students with a reading mentor throughout the school year to help them read at grade level. Find out more about the program here.
How You Can Help
To reach our goal, we need your help. The strategies proven to work are those that connect communities to their schools: parent involvement; literacy volunteers in the classroom; mentors for disadvantaged students; business leaders engaged in early childhood advocacy. Volunteer to help.
1 Figure according to Communities in Schools, one of America’s leading drop-out prevention partnerships.