This morning, the commissioners approved a resolution providing $500,000 to fund a program of the United Way that is aimed at ensuring that Franklin County students are proficient in reading by the end of third grade.
Children have been among the residents most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including by having to attend school remotely, in many cases, for months on end. That’s classroom time that they’ll never be able to recover, and many students haven’t had the resources they need to be successful at remote learning, including access to working computers and a reliable internet connection, and adults who can help with homework or to keep them on track. These students still need to be proficient in grade-appropriate skills, however, and for kids who may already have been struggling, the pandemic school gap could mean the difference between success and failure.
Pre-pandemic, seven out of Franklin County’s 16 school districts reported third grade reading proficiency rates below 75%, and research shows that children in poverty are 18 months behind where they should be in academic achievement. Students who aren’t proficient in reading by the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school, so the United Way is implementing a collective impact program aimed at the parents and students most in need of support. It’s partnering with local school districts to identify gaps in service, understand potential solutions, and align and support needed programs and services to help get students back on track by the end of third grade.
This funding is being made available with funds from the American Rescue Plan. You can read the full text of the resolution here
and learn more about how the commissioners are using the American Rescue Plan to help our community recover from the pandemic and its economic effects at Recovery.FranklinCountyOhio.gov