United Way works to promote education for all children.
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 ensure that every child is ready for Kindergarten and reading at grade level by third grade.
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. That is why we partner with many organizations to:
1. Provide access to literacy based programs proven to help reading skills
2. Foster stable and nurturing daycare and home environments
3. Provide access to a high quality learning environment
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.
1,109 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 1,109 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 and Lena Winslow Elementary School. 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.
Boys and Girls Club provided an academic enrichment program, Ticket to Read, during the school year and summer to help students learn and improve on reading and phonic skills. The program had 500 students participate with over 90 participants attending 30 or more days.
1 Figure according to Communities in Schools, one of America’s leading drop-out prevention partnerships.