Hearing books read aloud benefits older students, enhancing language arts instruction and building a community of readers. Learn more here
Educators across the country are experiencing a collective awakening about literacy instruction, thanks to a recent tsunami of national media attention. Alarm bells are ringing-as they should be-because we’ve gotten some big things wrong: Research has documented what works to get kids to read, yet those evidence-based reading practices appear to be missing from most classrooms. Read more here
WINSTON-SALEM, NORTH CAROLINA — The Forsyth Promise, a collaborative, education-focused initiative working to improve systemic outcomes for all of Forsyth County’s students, has received $150,000 from StriveTogether, a national nonprofit working to bring communities together around data to make decisions and improve results for kids. The Forsyth Promise will use its grant award to activate the power of those with lived experience in Forsyth County to plan and implement strategies that improve core community education outcomes by reducing racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps.
“The difficult challenges we face will not be quickly or easily resolved. They require our community to build new relationships, work across sectors, coordinate, and align. New solutions require a willingness to change the ways we think and work. The data from our 2018 report is clear: although many core community education measures are holding steady improving for aggregate students, our system is not working for all students. There are significant disparities in outcomes across all measures for which disaggregated data is available and these disparities fall along racial / ethnic and socio-economic lines,” said Wendy Poteat, Partnership Director of The Forsyth Promise.
The grant award from StriveTogether’s Cradle to Career Community Challenge program will allow The Forsyth Promise to build a network of grassroots community advocates and leaders. These grassroots leaders will share data and lived experiences to build a common perspective of our challenges and opportunities, collaborate on identifying the most critical issues to prioritize, and advocate and mobilize to move the needle on these community-wide priorities for education.
The Forsyth Promise has been awarded a grant from the Promising Practices Fund, which is intended to find local projects applying bold strategies that can be spread across StriveTogether’s national network. These projects will focus on deeper community engagement and align education with other sectors such as health, housing and transportation. Eleven community-based organizations were awarded grants of up to $150,000 for one year.
Through the Community Challenge, up to $7 million over the next three years will fund projects across the country that advance equity and spread bold strategies to help students progress from kindergarten to postsecondary completion and a job. During this round of grants, 10 communities also were selected for the Accelerator Fund. Communities in the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network were eligible to apply for the Community Challenge.
“StriveTogether launched the Cradle to Career Community Challenge because we refuse to settle for a world in which a child’s ability to thrive is dictated by factors like race or income,” StriveTogether President and CEO Jennifer Blatz said. “From partners across the country, we know the urgency of this work and the value of creating lasting change in communities. We are proud to start this year supporting 21 cradle-to-career partnerships to get real results for youth and families.”
As a Collective Impact Partner of United Way of Forsyth County, the Forsyth Promise facilitates education-focused collaborative, community-wide planning and action in Forsyth County, North Carolina. They provide a framework to help all community stakeholders work together toward the goal of improved educational outcomes for all students — from cradle to career. Our core values are Educational Equity, Inclusive Stakeholder Engagement, and Data-Driven Decision Making. For more information, visit ForsythPromise.org.
StriveTogether is a national movement with a clear purpose: help every child succeed in school and in life from cradle to career, regardless of race, zip code or circumstance. In partnership with nearly 70 communities across the country, StriveTogether provides resources, best practices and processes to give every child every chance for success. The StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network reaches 10.5 million students, involves 10,800 organizations, and has partners in 30 states and Washington D.C.
Now more than ever, youth are faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles when it comes to accessing higher education or landing a job. College costs are increasing, making it difficult to benefit from postsecondary schooling, and still more students are lacking the necessary skills for quality, sustainable employment.
In California, Orange County United Way is making higher education a reality through Destination Graduation. The program aims to reduce high school dropout rates, while bridging the education achievement gap for middle and high school students in high-need districts. Based in 12 high schools and 10 middle schools, Destination Graduation has prepared more than 26,000 low-income students with the skills they need to compete in the global economy.
And in Boston, high school students are sharpening their business skills with the help of United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. Through Youth Venture, a civic engagement and entrepreneurship program, young people develop and implement their own business ideas to improve their communities.
From career expos and afterschool mentorships, to financial management and college readiness courses, United Ways are providing myriad opportunities for youth to learn and grow. And you can do your part to help! By reaching out to your local United Way, you can find out where your support is needed most. Explore the possibilities. You don’t need a background in education or social work to make a mark. All you need is a willingness to give back. Visit your local United Way’s website to learn how they’re assisting kids right in your own community. Often, there will be opportunities listed for volunteers interested in donating their time or services.
- Wear your mentorship hat. Sometimes, all students need is someone to listen and support them as they navigate through their educational journey. As a volunteer mentor, you can use your experiences to inspire them to maximize their potential and reach for the stars. Your local United Way can help by pairing you with local students seeking mentorship.
- Suggest a career day. Ask your company if they would be willing to host a career day. Not only will senior leadership get the chance to communicate the value of your industry to potential future employees, but local youth will get an important glimpse into what it’s like working in a full-time job, giving them context for the future.
Connect with your local United Way today to learn how you can support the youth in your community.
Most of us can rattle off the names of each of our teachers from grade school through high school. And there’s good reason – teachers make a lasting, positive impression on countless young minds every day.
For many communities, teachers are a student’s mentor, friend and cheerleader. They often provide their class with necessary supplies, extra snacks and friendly encouragement. Without a doubt, teachers are an important part of raising healthy and educated children.
Recent research shows the average teacher spends almost $500 a year on classroom supplies, from decorations to tissues and pencils. Almost 20 percent of teachers report having a second job outside of the classroom. And, for most teachers, the average starting salary is just $38,617. Given all the challenges that our nation’s teachers face every day when educating the next generation, we’ve rounded up a list of ways you can thank a teacher in your community during Teacher Appreciation Week:
- Consider funding a local classroom project on DonorsChoose.org. The organization connects teachers in high-need communities with donors who want to help. Projects can range from distributing basic art supplies to iPads for the classroom.
- Connect with your child’s school PTA group and offer to collect supplies or funds for their classroom, or even offer to clean or help decorate their classroom. Every teacher appreciates when parents or caretakers can pitch in a few hours.
- Offer to cater lunch for teachers at a local school on a Friday. They’ll appreciate the break, and it’s a great way to get involved as a local business.
- Send a handwritten note of appreciation to your child’s teacher. A simple note can help brighten a teacher’s day.
- Consider nominating your child’s teacher for a local, state or national award. Many educational organizations have award programs, including the National Teacher’s Hall of Fame and the National Teacher of the Year Award.
Executive-skills coaching — which helps individuals set goals, develop plans and follow through with them — can play a meaningful role in helping young adults thrive in school, at work and in their personal lives, according to a new report funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Read more here
Middle school kids go through profound physical, emotional and social changes, and it can be a rough time for them, their parents and caregivers, and teachers, too. Research shows that strengthening the middle grades experience is critical for improving high school graduation rates. Read more
The jump from high school to college can be a difficult transition. For students like Anthony Frazier, a junior at Middletown High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, that just got a lot easier thanks to United Way of Greater Cincinnati. Through a new partnership with the Middletown High School Future Center, United Way is piloting a speed-mentoring program designed to equip students with the knowledge, tools and resources they need to successfully transition to college. Read more here.