St. Margaret’s, Dayton, worked with two other churches in the community (Zion Baptist and Corinthian Baptist) to offer a free six-week summer school tutoring program in reading and math for students in grades Pre-K – 3rd grades. The Dayton Scholars Program is a six-week community-based math and literacy program serving over 80% low and moderate income (LMI) elementary (pre-K-3rd) grade students who are in need of math and reading instruction. The program ran from June 11 to July 20.

The WDCC, Inc., an ecumenical partnership of over 20 Dayton-based churches, has established a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to focus on the uplifting and promotion of families to foster the learning and development of low- income children who are primarily African-American children in the West Dayton and surrounding communities. As faith leaders with churches and congregations spread across the city, we are in a position to make a deep impact in the lives of Pre-K – 3rd grade children who are the most vulnerable school-aged group. Together we have decided to take a vital role in the early learning of children as we are called and have established a formal program set on the uplifting and promotion of learning and development of children pre-K-3rdgrade for the success of their future and to encourage their families to participate throughout the course of their growth and development.

The Purpose of the Project is to:

·     Seek out children who need extra support in math and reading.
·     Provide enrichment programs are to increase positive behavior: math, reading, sports & arts & crafts with a licensed childcare framework.
·     Narrow the educational gap and empower children with tools for long-term academic success that will lead to more choices and options for their future.
·     Realign parent’s attitudes concerning the positive effects of early education for the future of their children. The Program will reach out to whole families encouraging that they build supportive relationships within their home to encourage their children beyond their own circumstances and reach for a better future.

Challenge

The education disparities in Dayton warrant an immediate community response. The 2017 K-3 Literacy Data for Dayton City presents a grade “D” and the Component grade “F” indicating more is needed.  It is important to reach out and assist the neighborhoods to thrive.  The 2017 Achievement results for the City of Dayton shows the State Test indicators were not met. The most affected were African-American children in the West Dayton area. The West Dayton community will greatly benefit from a math and literacy program.

Program Goals

·     Support and encourage academically struggling (low income) children by providing formalized math and literacy instruction and recreation programs to achieve measurable success and life-long learning. The three pilot programs will be housed at Corinthian Baptist Church, St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church (Trotwood) and Zion Baptist Church.  Each program will be managed by certified site coordinator in addition to certified teachers and paraprofessionals along with volunteers. Each site will follow a formalized education program focused on producing measurable results in reading and math progression over time.

·     Implement the Dolch 220 and Reading Readiness and Math 123 Academic programs. Both programs are designed for PreK-3 grade students based on meeting students where they are and helping them achieve measurable progression in reading and math.

·     Behavior modification to decrease time out of classroom or suspension.  Staff will work to engage children in positive behavior changes through the use of “The Don’t Pop Your Cork series” along with positive reinforcement.

Early learning has profound importance to lifelong health. It is well known that poor math and literacy skills produce poor outcomes. Pre-k -3rd is a critical time to develop reading and math skills for long term positive outcomes. Early learning programs will aide in fostering learning and social emotional skills that are at the very center of our mission, to have all children have a helping start for the beginning stages of their lives.

Dayton scholars focused on West Dayton: an area suffering from the loss of long standing businesses like grocery stores, some schools and most recent an announcement of a Hospital closure. The West Dayton area is predominantly African-American, however, everyone in this community is grieved and in shock from longs stints of being in survival mode. Many families are without employment along with other factors taking the importance off of preschoolers getting what they need, like an early education.

Dayton Scholars is culturally connected and invested in the West Dayton community and wants to help get kids back in school with the involvement of their parents. The children will benefit greatly with summer math and reading with the inclusion of an enrichment program. The goal is to increase readiness for school, build confidence and work to decrease problematic behavior.