Boosting the Talent Pipeline, Family-based Literacy Program Comes to Detroit


Springboard Collaborative will begin providing literacy tools to families in Detroit this summer. // Photo in stock

Many executives are concerned about whether the next generation of graduates will be ready to work, and local business and philanthropic leaders are helping up to 2,000 Detroit Pre-K kids in third grade reading this summer.

The effort comes from the fact that parents have had to raise their children from home since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The citywide partnership is led by the Boston-based GreenLight Fund and brings the family-based literacy program of the Philadelphia-based nonprofit Springboard Collaborative to Detroit. GreenLight’s US $ 600,000 multi-year social investment results in US $ 3 million in philanthropic and public engagement.

“Springboard’s track record in literacy gains and an emphasis on family engagement has been deeply reflected in our community-driven selection process,” said Rishi Moudgil, founding director of the GreenLight Fund Detroit. “Your linchpin for remote programming in partnership with existing schools and providers in Detroit enables us to work together to create an effective model that will persist regardless of COVID-19 conditions.”

The program’s workshops create personalized reading plans that increase the quality and quantity of time students spend reading at home. Families in Detroit can also attend weekly live workshops led by teachers and paid staff either online or over the phone. Springboard will continue its out-of-school reach this fall with partners including General Motors Co., 313Reads, The Skillman Foundation, and United Way for Southeastern Michigan.

“With many parents juggling both work and school at home, now is the perfect time to equip them with the right tools to help their children achieve reading success,” said Alejandro Gibes de Gac, Founder and CEO of Springboard . “Our learning accelerator enables parents to participate in the education of their children in Detroit in a practical way. The importance of family engagement has never been more evident and we urgently need to harness it as an important resource. “

The goal-oriented program is designed to stop the “summer slide” or three-month loss of literacy learning in low-income households between academic years and achieve months of reading progress over a five-week period.

“We need to activate all assets and opportunities for our children to achieve reading at the class level, especially beyond the traditional school day,” said Punita Thurman, vice president of the Skillman Foundation and member of the GreenLight Fund Detroit selection committee. “The GreenLight Fund has fueled the desire of families to be at the center of their children’s education, and the community collaboration and innovation that drove the process is now embedded in the selection of Springboard Collaborative.”

Parents and caregivers of students are virtually matched with a teacher to give lessons, set goals, get reading tips and coaching, access reading-level books, track progress through an app, and get incentives to achieve goals. The aim of the program is to achieve and improve literacy at the grade level over 10,000 Detroit students in four years.

“This partnership underscores Springboard’s reputation for literacy helping change course for many families,” said Terry Rhadigan, executive director of corporate donations at GM. “An investment in students in Detroit is an investment in the future of Detroit, and we are proud to be part of that mission.”

Local schools and existing literacy support providers implementing Springboard include Beyond Basics, Brilliant Detroit, the Center for Success, Cornerstone Schools, Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences, Detroit Leadership Academy, Martin Luther King Jr. Education Center Academy and the University Prep Schools.

The GreenLight Fund’s year-long assessment process has shown that literacy growth needs to be supported before Michigan third-grade reading law, which requires schools to keep students who do not read at grade level by the end of third grade, enters this year Force occurs. Approximately 15 percent of third grade students in Detroit read at or above grade level. In fifth grade, accumulated learning loss in summer can leave low-income students two to three years behind their peers.

The fund opened its Detroit location in 2016. He has since invested in the Center for Employment Opportunities, the New Teacher Center, and now Springboard.

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Dusty Kennedy