Before 3rd grade students are learning to read. After 3rd grade students are reading to learn. And if you can't read, you can't learn. "Without a strong foundation in reading, children are left behind. They lag in every class because more than 85 percent of the curriculum is taught by reading. By the end of 3rd grade, 74 percent of struggling readers won't ever catch up. One of the most important predictors of high school graduation is reading proficiency by the end of 3rd grade." - Children's Reading Foundation. A staggering 46% of 3rd grade Palm Beach County students were reading below grade level in 2019 as indicated by the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) test. The challenges of COVID-19 are devastating for the disadvantaged Title One children we serve through Project UpLift. Schools such as Rolling Green in Boynton Beach, where only 22% of 3rd graders passed the FSA test in 2019, are particularly in jeopardy. Additionally, principals at the 4 schools we currently serve with our intensive small group, after school tutoring program are telling us the need for Project UpLift services at each school will grow significantly. A related May article in Education Week predicts that "if students return to school in the fall without continuity of instruction during the closures, they will only retain 70% of their reading progress compared to a normal year."
We transform struggling 2nd and 3rd grade readers who are reading one or more grades below grade level by providing them with intensive, after school, small group tutoring for one hour three days per week. Outside the school day, Project UpLift goes back and addresses the basics that the students need. We meet students where they are, reward small gains, encourage incremental progress, and motivate them to celebrate one another's successes.
Funding will be used to expand Project UpLift's reading program to two additional Title One schools: Rolling Green in Boynton Beach and Coral Sunset in Boca Raton. For the next two years, most of your funding will cover the contract service fees for their certified teachers engaged in tutoring our kids. We will then serve 420 students with our individualized, supplementary reading education program. This plan allows us to serve students most in need at seven Title One schools in Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, and Boca Raton.
Metrics will be updated every 6 months, as reports are received.