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Ready for Success summer program receives grant for expansion

posted Mar 18, 2014, 6:07 AM by Communications Coordinator
More children entering first grade and who need reading and writing support prior to the start of the new school year will have the opportunity to participate in the Manchester School District Ready for Success summer program, thanks to a grant awarded by the Norwin S. and Elizabeth N. Bean Foundation. Previously focused on students who attend Manchester’s Title I schools, which receive state and federal financial assistance to meet the needs of educationally at-risk students, Ready for Success is now available to incoming first graders from all 14 elementary schools.

“Children in Manchester come to school from a variety of early education or home settings, and bring with them different levels of skills and readiness,” said Beth Shea, Ready for Success program coordinator, who also is a veteran kindergarten teacher at Northwest Elementary School. “Since 2004, Ready for Success has worked to give a boost in literacy during the summer to the students who will benefit from it.” 

All kindergarten and first grade students registered to attend Manchester schools for the first time take the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) assessment. Results of the screening indicate whether those children have the skills necessary for success in learning to read. If their scores are below proficient, they are invited to join the summer program. Some English Language Learners also qualify to participate.

Ready for Success offers instruction Monday through Thursday, three hours a day, for four weeks. Teachers work with students on early language and literacy skills that will prevent difficulties when it comes time to learn how to read in school. The $25,000 grant from the Bean Foundation will fund four classrooms for incoming first grade students from the city’s six non-Title I schools.

“The Bean Foundation is pleased to be a resource for such a worthwhile program,” said Kathy Cook, grant manager. “Ready for Success has proven results over the past ten years. It makes sense to extend the program in Manchester as far as we can.”

Results of pre- and post-intervention assessments are collected and analyzed so that teachers can track Ready for Success students during the school year and determine outcomes from the program over time.