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Boys & Girls Club, District Join for Literacy Initiative

The Unified School District of Antigo and Boys & Girls Club of Langlade County will be joining an initiative to promote early literacy.

In partnership with Education Analytics, Inc., a nonprofit education research firm based in Madison, five other school districts and Boys & Girls Clubs across the country, Unified School District of Antigo and Boys & Girls Clubs of Langlade County will support efforts to expand the SPARK Early Literacy Program, a research-based kindergarten through second-grade early reading intervention.

The consortium has been awarded a $7.8 million Education Innovation and Research grant, from the Department of Education, to implement the newly-created SPARK Center in both urban and rural locale in Wisconsin, Alabama, and South Carolina.

The SPARK program will also create employment opportunities for at least six part-time staff at each of the two participating school district sites. The program will assist 50 students with 90 minutes of one on one tutoring each week during the school year.

SPARK was first launched by Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee in 2006, and is a cost-effective, early reading intervention that has been proven to improve student reading achievement.

The research-based programming integrates one-on-one tutoring, family engagement, and after-school programming in its design. Multiple research studies have proven SPARK’s effectiveness. The Center for Research and Reform in Education has described the program as one of a small number of literacy interventions that both work and meet the “strong evidence definitions” laid out in the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Throughout the grant project, researchers at the Office of Socially Responsible Evaluation in Education at the University of  Wisconsin-Milwaukee will evaluate the program’s impact, replicability, and sustainability across the tristate consortium. By the end of the grant, the SPARK Center will be self-sustained with the capacity to scale the program beyond participating sites and meet the substantial, unmet demand for a proven effective, holistic, cost-effective literacy program.

The total costs of this project across the nation is $8,546,442. Of this, $7,773,129 or 90 percent will be financed by federal funds, and $773,313 or 10 percent will be financed by non-governmental sources.

To ensure this program is successful the Boys & Girls Club of Langlade County is seeking to hire a full-time community outreach coordinator to oversee implementation of the grant along with two part-time program managers, two part-time family living engagement coordinators and eight to 10 part-time tutors. The program managers must be licensed teachers. All job postings are available on www.bgclang.org.

Source: Antigo Daily Journal