Success in life begins with a quality education. And yet, many Champaign County children and youth enter school unprepared, lacking the support they need to strengthen their literacy and math skills and stay on track in school. Ultimately this leads to fewer students graduating high school and finding a career.
Today, United Way of Champaign County is announcing a bold goal to change the statistics. To build a community where every child can achieve their full potential, we must start with early education.
United Way of Champaign County seeks grant applications from programs that aim to reduce the achievement gap in kindergarten readiness and 3rd grade reading among students of color in Champaign County, Illinois. The RFP opens May 1 with a deadline of May 17 at noon. $700,000 in grant funding is available thanks to United Way Community Impact Fund supporters.
Informational sessions will be conducted via Zoom. Please contact Beverley Baker to register: email@example.com
United Way's Early Grade Level Success Goals
- Increase the number of students in Champaign County who demonstrate kindergarten readiness in at least one area by 10%
- Increase the number of Black male students who are meeting learning standards in Math and English Language Arts by 10%
- Increase the number of low-income students who are meeting learning standards in Math and English Language Arts by 10%
- Decrease chronic absenteeism by 10%
Kindergarten readiness means kids have the cognitive, social-emotional, and physical abilities and skills that prepare them to be in a formal school setting.
The problem is, not all kids come to school with the same level of skills. And when a student is too far behind, they may never catch up.
The 2019 Illinois KIDS survey reports 43% of Champaign Unit 4 kindergartners and 49% of Urbana 116 kindergartners did not demonstrate any kindergarten readiness in the three areas measured - Social/emotional development, language & literacy, and math.
Third Grade Reading and Math Achievement
Studies demonstrate that reading proficiently by third grade leads to higher rates of graduating on time, and earning a high school diploma helps kids avoid incarceration, find a job that pays a sustainable wage and live a healthier life.
70% of Unit 4 and 76.7% of Urbana 116 third graders are not meeting learning standards in third grade English Language Arts - 93% and 88% for Black boys, and 88% and 96% for low-income students. (Source: Illinois School Report Card)
In Rantoul City Schools 137, 91% of third graders are not meeting learning standards in third grade English Language Arts – 93% for Black boys.
60% of Unit 4 and 81% of Urbana 116 third graders are not meeting Math learning standards - 90% and 81% for Black boys, and 85% and 92% for low-income students. (Source: Illinois School Report Card)
On average, one in ten kids in kindergarten and first grade are chronically absent – which means they miss so much school they get behind and cannot catch up (Source: Attendanceworks.org). Chronic absence can lead to problems with literacy, passing subjects, and even graduating high school on time.
Champaign Unit 4 - 21%
Rantoul City Schools 137 - 23%
Urbana Unit 116 - 36%