Tuesday September 2, 2008
Four years after announcing an ambitious city-wide initiative to have every Jefferson County Public School student reading on grade level, Mayor Jerry Abramson and Superintendent Sheldon Berman announced today that Every 1 Reads has reached its $8 million fundraising goal.
The city also is on track to having 10,000 volunteers enrolled in the Every 1 Reads program, Abramson said. Currently 9,600 people, from top corporate executives to retired grandparents, volunteer in local school to help students improve their reading skills.
“We’ve raised the money, we recruited the volunteers and we’ve made huge strides to ensure that students are reading on their grade level,” Abramson said.
When the initiative began, 18 percent of students – nearly one in five -- were not reading at their grade level. That percent has been cut by more than half.
Now, only 8.5 percent of students are not reading at grade level, and the school and business community is working to reduce that even further.
“Reaching these goals is evidence of this community’s support for our schools,” Berman said. “Thanks to everyone who has played a part in the Every 1 Reads story. Based on the success of this partnership, the Jefferson County Public Education Foundation has adopted a continuation plan beyond 2008 for Every 1 Reads.”
Volunteer tutors will continue to work with students, Berman said, and some additional fundraising may be necessary.
“The outcomes will be focused on moving students’ reading skills to proficiency and beyond,” he said.
Every 1 Reads was launched in September 2003, a joint project by Greater Louisville Inc, the metro chamber of commerce, JCPS and Louisville Metro Government.
The ambitious goal was to have every student reading at their grade level by 2008. Although that goal has not been reached yet, the school system and business community are committing to improving reading scores. New CATS reading scores are expected to be released in September.
The business community stepped forward and pledged to raise $8 million for Every 1 Reads, matched by $8 million from the school system. The money was used to train volunteers, create reading curriculum and for teacher and staff education programs.
“Even without knowing the final academic result, we can say without a doubt that Every 1 Reads has been a success in many, many ways,’ said GLI President Joe Reagan.
National City President Chuck Denny, who led fundraising efforts, said money came in large and small contributions.
“We’ve seen commitments of all sizes, from $1 million to personal check for $10,” Denny said.