Newsletter November 2011

Newsletter November 2011

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Dear Friends,

Our 46 REACH students are now in the 5th grade—much taller and more focused on afterschool work than their little 2nd grade selves with whom we began the program. Their 4th grade test scores are very encouraging! Out of Spokane’s 17 Title 1 schools, Lidgerwood 4th graders scored No. 1 in Reading, No. 2 in Math and No. 5 in Writing. The REACH students outperformed other students in their own classrooms: 81% passed Reading (50% non-REACH passed); 69% passed Math (59% non-REACH passed); 69% passed Writing (38% non-REACH passed). We are very proud of our REACH students and grateful to our dedicated tutors who help make such achievement possible.

A subcommittee worked this summer on revamping our afterschool program to ensure that all students are mastering basic and grade level reading, math and writing skills. LaVerne McGrath, a reading specialist, has assessed some of our students and pinpointed their gaps in reading so we can specifically target problem areas with individual students. With tutor Mary Jo Ormsby’s help we have assessed math skills and are focusing on areas of weakness with fun math games. Susan Stanaway is continuing the enhancement program for those at grade level and above. Susan Virnig from Get Lit! helps improve the students’ writing skills. Our project coordinator, Lauren Garske, has added a social and emotional learning component since developing good social and emotional skills improves academic achievement and is critical for success in life. With these changes, we anticipate REACH scores to soar even higher next year. Please let Lauren know if any of you would like to volunteer as tutors.

Even during a recession, our auction in May raised more money than ever before--$86,000.00 with $36,000.00 ear-marked for our GET tuition account. Additionally, the Ludlow Foundation awarded us $5,000 for the tuition fund. Unfortunately the state of Washington Guaranteed Education Tuition Program (GET) raised the per unit price to $163.00 (It was $74.00 when we started.). We have a total of 5,158 GET units—enough for 46 students’ first year of college and 5 students’ second year at a 4-year college or all 46 students for two years at a community college with enough for 5 students’ third year at a 4-year college. We are doing well but need to continually raise more money for the GET so that in seven years we have enough for all students who desire to complete a 4-year college education. Many of our students will qualify for other scholarships and Pell grants so the picture is actually better. We guarantee last dollar assistance after all other aid is provided.

Our auction has outgrown the Boys and Girls Club and will move to the Globe Room at Gonzaga University on Thursday, May 31, 2012. (Memorial Day is May 28th). Save the date! A special item for this year’s auction is an old 3-bedroom renovated Italian farmhouse located in Chianti, Tuscany, Italy. Start dreaming!

If you are looking for holiday gift ideas, or if your family wants to donate to a charity in each others’ names rather than exchanging as many gifts, consider giving a GET credit(s) toward fulfilling the hopes of our REACH students. Such generosity will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you all for your support. This is a team endeavor. The scores are finally showing how much everyone’s efforts have helped the REACH students progress.

Paul and Neice Schafer Frank and Patsy Etter Irv and Angie Zakheim