Start Sooner, Stay Longer, Keep Learning, ….that is a mouthful! For simplicity, let’s stick with “Start Sooner” for now. Start Sooner, often called the Rogers Neighborhood project had its beginnings in 2007. At that time a task group was brought together to begin to address the issues of poverty in our community. The facts on this issue were surprising to some, and all too well known to others. Those same statistics are important to today’s discussion
The term poverty means different things to different people. However, the Federal government determines each year a level of income deemed to be in poverty. Currently, in order to be at 100% of the federal poverty guidelines, a family of four makes at or below $22,050 per year. According to the most recent census data, 17.5 percent of families with children in Marshalltown are in poverty and 21% of children under the age of 18 are in poverty. Often times, people think that poverty is synonymous with welfare. However, in Marshall County, only 8% of the families served through MICA in 2010 received TANF- often referred to as welfare.
Our free and reduced lunch rates are also reflective of the current economic conditions faced by our families.Currently 63% of students district wide and 72% of district elementary students receive free or reduced lunches; the majority of which – 86% - receive free lunches.Convert to hourly wage
In order to qualify for free lunches a family of four must make less than 28,665 dollars That translates into a full time income of $13.78 per hour for a single wage earner… or around minimum wage for two part time workers. Let’s see how that translates into a monthly budget
This basic needs budget for a family of four was compiled by the Iowa policy project utilizing information from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the USDA low-cost family food plan, The health care estimates include all premiums and out of pocket costs. Even when focusing on the most basic needs, this family can expect to fact a short fall of $369 dollars each month.
This shortfall does not include many things most of us see as necessary including insurance, gifts, and important developmental activities such as sports or the arts. Clearly, a huge number of families in our district are faced with difficult financial decisions everyday.
The getting by and getting ahead task force found the issues of poverty both overwhelming and complex, and after much research and reflection determined that the most effective way to combat the issues of poverty in our community was threefold: 1: insure that all children begin receiving a top notch education as early as possible, 2: that we work to keep all kids in school through graduation, and 3: that we encourage life long learning.
Thus the Start Sooner, Stay longer, and keep learning project was born. It was determined to adapt the Harlem Children’s Zone model. HCZ’s approach can be summarized by their mission statement: Doing whatever it takes to educate children and strengthen the community
So why Rogers?One of the keys to the success of the Harlem Children's Zone is its focus on a small geographic area, with high needs and low assets. While this description could describe a number of neighborhoods in our community, the Rogers staff’s willingness to engage and the availability of the Rogers Family Learning Center coupled with the small neighborhood made Rogers the obvious choice. The current demographics and proficiency rates of students played a role as well.
The roger’s neighborhood experiences a high level of mobility – this is likely due to the nature of the housing in the area. Currently, nearly 46% of housing in the neighborhood is occupied by renters as compared to 30% community wide.
Along with fewer owner occupied houses, the value of the housing stock is also reflective of the economic conditions in the neighborhood . 83% of the homes in the neighborhood are valued lower than the community median home value, and more than 30% of homes are valued at less than half of the median home value
At 88%, Rogers leads the district in the percent of students eligible for free and reduced lunches
Rogers also serves a high percentage of English language learners
Rogers students are doing as well or better than the district as a whole in regards to their ITBS reading scores, however, they are not reaching the targets set by No Child Left Behind and therefore has been identified as a School in Need of Assistance.
This chart reflects the difference between the students in 3rd grade during the 2009 reading test to the same cohort in 4th grade in 2010.
In math, rogers 4th graders faired much better on the math ITBS than did the 3rd graders, this was true district wide as well.
This difference carries over when comparing the 2009 3rd graders to the 2010 4th graders as well. A significant number of students became proficient over the course of one year
With all of this information, it is challenging to know where to begin to affect change.In order to better understand the neighborhood an ambitious door to door campaign was embarked upon. Last year, the team knocked on over one thousand doors and completed 856 surveys of neighborhood residents…and here are a some of things we learned
There are a lot of children in this small section of Marshalltown….642 at last count
0f those 642 children, 80% are under the age of 13 and 39% were 5 or younger.
Following the lead of the original task force, and responding to the needs identified by studying the demographics and surveys of the neighborhood, the newly formed start sooner stay longer keep learning advisory group determined that the initial work should focus on early childhood.
A preschool camp was held last summer utilizing skilled teachers 33 children attended the preschool camp which was held at the same time as an elementary camp led by Quakerdale.
The Little Ones Need Words campaign began, with the purpose of promotingthe importance of early childhood literacy, vocabulary development, and school success. Little Ones Need Words activities have included Reading Circles were held for families with children between the ages of 0-5 years. These learning opportunities provided modeling strategies to enhance children’s vocabulary through enriching conversations. Family Gatherings are an hour long opportunity for families to learn about and share with neighbors and friends the importance of early literacy and vocabulary development for children beginning at birth. Each participant received a tote bag filled with children’s books and educational materials. Ten gatherings were held and a total of 39 parents/guardians who had a total of 72 children attended. An Early Literacy Training was held to educate local agencies on the Little Ones Need Words campaign’s purpose. Local Early Literacy experts modeled how to enrich vocabulary through extended conversations and shared reading. Fifteen agency home visitors attended.
While much has been accomplished in the past couple years, we have just scratched the surface of the needs of the Rogers neighborhood. And that is where you come in. We look forward to gaining your insight and ideas as we continue to strive to do whatever it takes to educate children and strengthen the community.
Planning meeting powerpoint edit 2
Start Sooner, Stay Longer, Keep Learning<br />Creating a cradle to career continuum for Rogers Elementary’s neighborhood children<br />
Getting by and Getting Ahead Task Force<br />Start Sooner, Stay Longer, Keep Learning<br /><ul><li>Bettie Bolar: Iowa Valley Continuing Education
Arlene McAtee and Clarissa Thompson: Mid-Iowa Community Action, Inc.
Why Rogers?<br />Community-wide, 30% of residents are renters<br />(Source: City of Marshalltown)<br />
Why Rogers?<br /><16% of the homes in the area are above the Marshalltown median home value (approx. $96,000)<br />>30% are valued at less than half of the median home value.<br />(Source: City of Marshalltown)<br />
Why Rogers?<br />(Source: Iowa Department of Education)<br />
Why Rogers?<br />(Source: Iowa Department of Education)<br />