A recently-approved Literacy Americorps Palm Beach County Cooperative Agreement is expected to result in more students graduating from high school in Palm Beach County. The School Board-approved agreement provides for five (5) AmeriCorps members who will serve as graduation coaches at the following high schools.• Boynton Beach Community High School • Forest Hill Community High School • John I. Leonard High School • Lake Worth Community High School • Village Academy
These coaches work directly with students, teachers, parents and counselors to monitor students’ grades and credits and connect them with tutors and other support that may be critical for their graduation.
“Many students have challenging circumstances that put them at risk of not graduating,” said Darlene Kostrub, Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County CEO. ”We know from research and our own experience with these coaches that the investment pays off. More students graduate.”
The grant also provides for seven full-time and two part-time AmeriCorps members to serve as reading tutors at the following schools:• Barton Elementary • Galaxy Elementary • Forest Park Elementary • Rolling Green Elementary
Elementary schools were chosen based on the number of students reading at level 1.
“The support of a caring tutor, coupled with this intensive literacy intervention, will provide the extra assistance needed to help our students reach the goal of reading on or above grade level. Obtaining success in reading will have a lasting effect on all curriculum areas,” said Debbie Battles, Director of Federal & State Programs at the School District of Palm Beach County.
Funding for the graduation coaches is provided through a grant received by the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County from Bank of America.
AmeriCorps is a program of the U.S. federal government engaging adults in intensive community service work with the goal of “helping others and meeting critical needs in the community.” Members commit to full or part-time positions offered by a network of non-profit community organizations and public agencies, to fulfill assignments in the fields of education, public safety, healthcare and environmental protection. The program is often compared to the Peace Corps as its domestic counterpart.
AmeriCorps is an initiative of the Corporation for National Community Service, which also oversees the Senior Corps and Learn and Serve America. It was created under President Bill Clinton by the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993, incorporating VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) and the National Civilian Community Corps. A third division, AmeriCorps State and National, provides grants to hundreds of local community organizations throughout the U.S.
The Palm Beach County Education Foundation and district’s K-12 Research-Based Comprehensive Reading Plan completed the required funding for the programs.
For more information, contact Audrey McDonough, Literacy AmeriCorps Director at 561-243-9450.