Thursday, March 12, 2015

Closing the Reading Achievement Gap with Springboard Collaborative

Guest post by: Alejandro Gac-Artigas
CEO & Founder, Springboard Collaborative

A major step…

Nationally, there are 10 million low-income children that do not enter 4th grade with the reading skills they need to realize their potential. Springboard Collaborative is fueled by the staggering size and jolting injustice of this number. Having launched in Philadelphia and expanded to Camden, we are proud to announce a major step in fulfilling our mission at a national scale: Springboard is expanding to the San Francisco Bay Area. Building on the momentum of our annual crowdfunding campaign, a $600,000 investment from the GreenLight Fund puts wind in our sails as we embark on this new adventure.

How matters…

As Springboard grows to new regions, we realize there is one determinant of success that trumps them all: local ownership. It is fundamentally different to be pulled into a region than to push your way in. This is one of the aspects of GreenLight’s model that most excites us. A coalition of local stakeholders identified summer learning loss as an unmet need, and they invited Springboard to join their community. This local buy-in is met with significant demand from schools: In a unique collaboration, Oakland Unified School District and Education For Change (a charter network) have committed resources to launch programming at 4 schools serving 480 children this summer. The partnership is supported by the vision and generosity of a coalition of funders led by The Kenneth Rainin Foundation and the Rogers Family Foundation.

The challenge & the opportunity…

In some parts of the Bay Area, less than 35% of low income children are reading proficiently by 4th grade. We view this as an opportunity as much as it is a challenge. Our optimism comes from our perspective that parents’ love for their children is the greatest and most underutilized natural resource in education. Springboard will help school communities get more from the people and assets they already have: their teachers, families, readers, and resources. Moreover, the Bay Area is characterized by a robust ecosystem including schools, service providers, and funders with a shared vision around literacy and the resolve to realize it. All of us at Springboard are humbled by the chance to join this thriving community, and we are grateful for the GreenLight Fund’s financial and strategic support along the way.

What the locals are saying…

“Springboard will fill a critical need, supporting the positive work that’s currently underway in Oakland to bolster high-quality early childhood education, giving all children the opportunities they need to be successful in school and beyond.”

— The Kenneth Rainin Foundation

“Both OUSD and EFC are thrilled at the prospect of working with Springboard Collaborative to offer comprehensive literacy opportunities to students and families of Oakland this summer! We are particularly excited to pilot a program that may potentially build the capacity of our families to become allies in reading instruction. Families are too often an untapped asset, and building capacity of lower elementary families has the capacity to support those children throughout their lives. This effective model also has the capacity to inform future programmatic developments in Oakland in sustainable and systematic ways.”

— Education For Change & Oakland Unified School District

Coast to coast…

It took a long time for the national education discourse to embrace the idea that all children can learn. It is our ambition—and our charge—to prove that all parents can teach. Springboard’s expansion to the San Francisco Bay Area lends us a powerful platform to spread this message from coast to coast.

No comments:

Post a Comment