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Summer education program improves reading of Peabody elementary school students

Posted by Terri Ogan  September 6, 2013 04:42 PM

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Through funding from a local donor and a partnership with the Peabody school district, Salem-based education organization, For Kids Only Afterschool, has increased the reading proficiency of 93 percent of students who enrolled in its nine-week summer program.

The Summer Learn Loss Prevention Project was funded by a $10,000 grant from the Sheehan Family Foundation, which aims to enhance education quality in eastern Massachusetts. The program ran for 11 hours per day, five days per week, for a nine-week period.

The overall goal of the project was to prevent summer learning loss and improve academic achievement among disadvantaged Peabody elementary school students, according to an announcement from For Kids Only Afterschool.  Specific program objectives included improving academic skills in reading and writing; enhancing attitude toward school, learning, and self; and improving social relationships with adults and peers, the announcement said.

“We are truly grateful to the Sheehan Family Foundation for selecting FKO as one of their educational partners,” said a statement from Deborah Kneeland Keegan, executive director of For Kids Only Afterschool. “With the $10,000 grant, we were able to provide scholarships for 15 at-risk Peabody Public School students, plus allowed us to hire a Literacy Specialist to work with our Summer Program staff and students on enrichment and reading projects. We could not be more impressed with the results.”

A total of 99 students enrolled in the summer program, and 55 were evaluated for summer reading proficiency, according to the organization. 

Using a reading assessment tool test to gauge student progress in literacy skills, an analysis of student progress was conducted throughout the summer.  The results showed that 93% of children tested either maintained or grew the number of words they read per minute. 

For Kids Only Afterschool provides year-round afterschool, school vacation and summer programming in the communities of East Boston, Everett, Peabody, Revere, Salem and Winthrop, and is currently operating in six of Peabody’s eight public schools.

Terri Ogan can be reached at oganglobe@gmail.com, or follow her on Twitter.

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