Goleta Literacy Support Continues to Grow

   One of United for Literacy’s newest expansions, the Goleta Literacy Partnership, has garnered strong support from local community members, including those who attended Red Feather Ball, as well as other businesses and individuals.

   Thanks to the support of 20 organizations and individuals, we have raised over $150,000 in financial support to launch the Goleta Literacy Partnership. The Goleta Literacy Partnership is a first of its kind partnership between Goleta Union School District (GUSD) and UWSBC to provide three-year district-wide literacy improvement in GUSD. This partnership will provide unlimited Power Reading literacy improvement software at all nine GUSD elementary schools and ongoing teacher support, training, and evaluation from UWSBC.

   Since 2012, students at five of GUSD's nine elementary schools have used United Way Power Reading software with great success. Power Reading is an interrelated set of online, research-based literacy tools and techniques that helps improve reading skills in beginning readers and older students who need additional practice, and helps teachers more easily and effectively reach every student at their skill level. GUSD Superintendent, Bill Banning, who spoke at this year's Red Feather Ball shared, "Our teachers, students, and families love its flexibility; highly individualized instruction (critical given GUSD's academic and economic diversity); and its embedded assessments and reports that help maximize student growth."

   After three years of consistent Power Reading usage at El Camino Elementary, a GUSD school with a high number of financially and academically at-risk students, the results were extremely positive: the percentage of students who were on-target to meet grade-level benchmarks increased from 15% to 24%, according to Lexia's embedded assessment. Additionally, in February 2016, El Camino became one of the few schools in Santa Barbara County ever to exit Program Improvement, a classification the Department of Education assigns to schools that do not meet yearly progress goals. Given the outstanding results at El Camino and other Power Reading schools, GUSD and UWSBC are confident that a districtwide literacy improvement project can significantly improve the futures of thousands more children and families. The effects will be far reaching, as students go on to attend junior high, high school, and college.

   It takes the support of an entire community to make programs like the Goleta Literacy Partnership, United for Literacy, and Fun in the Sun a success. To learn more about how you can support these projects, please visit www.unitedwaysb.org/donate.