When one fourth grader at Kane Elementary School was no longer able to check out books due to library fines, Bartlesville Education Promise was there to help. The girl found a series she liked that was at her independent reading level, and would come every few days to get a new book. She even told friends, and some of them began checking out books, including a special-needs student. They helped each other find new books to read.
“Eventually this fourth grade student was able to either return the books she had out from the school library or pay for them,” Kane Instructional Coach Shelli Murphy said. “She told me that her mom saw how much she was reading, and decided to take care of her overdue library books. I don’t know if that would have happened had she not had access to the Education Promise books!”
The Bartlesville Regional United Way has partnered with Bartlesville Education Promise, committing to provide $15,000 in funding for the next three years—for a total of $45,000. The money is being used to provide books that children can take home as well as tutoring after school.
This past school year, the books were sent home with struggling elementary school students. Studies have shown that being read to as a child and having books in the home are the two most important indicators of future academic success.
“Our students loved being able to take the books home at night to read,” Karla Cunningham of Jane Phillips Elementary School said. “They loved all of the nonfiction titles that were included in the purchase. It was so wonderful to have the books available to our students.”
Part of the funding provided tutoring two times per week after school at Bartlesville High School. Staff will be available to assist students in English, science, algebra and geometry. An average of 25 students attended the tutoring services last school year.
“We are encourage to see so many students taking advantage of the tutoring,” Bartlesville Education Promise Chairman Martin Garber said. “The teachers providing this service reports at least half of these students would be classified as "at risk" and the teachers feel their attendance will go a long way towards improving their chances of graduation. This what the Bartlesville Education Promise is all about.”
The purpose of the Bartlesville Education Promise is to provide funds to the Bartlesville Public Schools to enable the provision of additional support to smooth the path for all Bartlesville children to graduate and be ready to go on to college or move successfully into the work force.
“United Way is committed to providing funding for educational programs in the community,” Bartlesville Regional United Way CEO and Executive Director Jody Burch said. “We are excited to hear about the great results this past school year and look forward to even more children benefitting in the future.”