The initiative will expand proven K-2 literacy intervention in 14 schools across three states

Antigo, WI –  January 12, 2018 – The Unified School District of Antigo and Boys & Girls Club of Langlade County are excited to announce that they will be joining an exciting initiative to promote early literacy. In partnership with Education Analytics, Inc., a nonprofit education research firm based in Madison, Wis., 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 2nd grade early reading intervention. The consortium has been awarded a $7.8 million Education Innovation and Research (EIR) 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 SPARK staff at each of the two participating USDA school 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 (CRRE) 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 (ESSA).

Throughout the grant project, researchers at the Office of Socially Responsible Evaluation in Education (SREed) 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.

About the Education Innovation and Research Program at the Department of Education

The Education Innovation and Research (EIR) Program, established under section 4611 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), provides funding to create, develop, implement, replicate, or take to scale entrepreneurial, evidence-based, field-initiated innovations to improve student achievement and attainment for high-need students; and rigorously evaluate such innovations. The EIR program is designed to generate and validate solutions to persistent educational challenges and to support the expansion of effective solutions to serve substantially larger numbers of students.

The total costs of this project are $8,546,442. Of this, $7,773,129 or 90% will be financed by federal funds, and $773,313 or 10% 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 – ten part-time Tutors. The Program Managers must be licensed teachers. All job postings are available on www.bgclang.org.

About Boys & Girls Clubs of Langlade County

For the past 17 years the Boys & Girls Club of Langlade County has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, our Club serves more than 2600 young people annually through Club membership and community outreach. We provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun, friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Priority programs emphasize academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. Boys & Girls Club of Langlade County, founded in 2000, is a non-profit, privately-funded 501{c}{3} organization and depends on private donations and volunteers to accomplish its mission. To learn more or to volunteer, contact the Boys & Girls Club office at 715-627-1389 or visit the Web site at www,bgclang.org.

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