C The ground breaking national program provides resources to the elementary schools most in need of improving early grade reading.
“The Club Connect Adopt a School program is an opportunity for all of us to work together and promote the value of reading and the importance of literacy,” said Brian Gallagher, CEO of United Way Worldwide. “Research shows that improving reading levels as early as third grade is a key strategy to reducing high school dropout rates. Our goal is to have every Title I school in America adopted through Club Connect.”
Club Connect helps participating elementary schools by providing relevant books and resources to promote reading and parent engagement throughout the entire year. In addition, every child receives a free one-year membership to the Club Connect website, which encourages a love for reading and offers incentives to read after school and through the summer. The interactive website www.unitedwayclubconnect.org features educational games, videos, e-books and more. Parental engagement is also a primary focus, which empowers the families to help their children read and learn, especially during the summer.
The program also includes a state-of-the-art “Reading Oasis” from Scholastic set up at all participating schools, a wonderful space with hundreds of books for grades PK-3, a stereo listening center and colorful furniture. The Reading Oasis is a safe and inviting location where families and community partners can meet and enjoy reading together while gaining access to books year-round.
“After traveling to visit principals in more than a dozen states, their message is consistent and clear…we need to do more to engage kids in reading after school and in the summer months,” said Bill O’Dowd, member of the Worldwide Leadership Council of United Way and creator of Club Connect. “At lower income levels there is only one age appropriate book in the home for every 300 children. Club Connect was designed to give these kids a chance.”
Fifteen schools have participated in Club Connect pilot programs, and provided valuable insights and positive feedback leading up to this national launch. The inaugural Reading Oasis installation is taking place today at Chalmette Elementary School in the greater New Orleans area, hosted by United Way of Southeast Louisiana.
“We are thrilled to bring Club Connect to our school,” said Doris Votier, Superintendent of Schools, St. Parish County Public Schools. “We know that reading is critical to academic success, and if these skills are not mastered in the early years, children will fall further and further behind. The incredible Reading Oasis and generous Club Connect memberships are wonderful opportunities for our students and their families.”
For $10,000 per year, donors can adopt a school and help hundreds of children. United Way Worldwide is also announcing a crowdfunding tool for people to give donations as small as $20 to the national program, or they can choose to direct their funds to a specific school’s Club Connect program. Individuals, corporations and organizations are encouraged to participate and adopt a school in their local communities. They can visit www.unitedwayclubconnect.org to adopt a school or donate to United Way Club Connect there. There are also numerous opportunities to volunteer at participating schools across the country.
About United Way
With more than 2.8 million volunteers and 9.7 million donors worldwide, and more than $5 billion raised every year, United Way is the world's largest privately-funded nonprofit. It is working in nearly 1,800 communities across 41 countries and territories to create community solutions that improve life for everyone. Across the world, United Way partners include global, national and local businesses, nonprofits, civic and faith organizations, as well as educators, labor, health organizations, government and more.
Established in 1921, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) leads in the advocacy and support for elementary and middle school principals in the United States and internationally. NAESP supports principals as the primary catalysts for creating lasting foundations for learning through policy and professional development, advocacy, programs, and resources for effective instructional leadership. NAESP advances the profession on behalf of all principals, providing specialized support and mentoring for early career principals. Key focus areas include pre-K-3 education, school safety, technology and digital learning, and capacity-building educator evaluation. For more information about NAESP, please visit www.naesp.org.
Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books and a leader in educational technology and related services and children’s media. Scholastic creates quality books, print and technology-based learning materials and programs, magazines, multi-media and other products that help children learn both at school and at home. The Company distributes its products and services worldwide through a variety of channels, including school-based book clubs and book fairs, retail stores, schools, libraries, on-air, and online at www.scholastic.com.