Working together through continuous learning to improve the quality of life for all in DeKalb County, Indiana
An education initiative of the Community Foundation of DeKalb County

May 6, 2013 Learning Link Hosts Community Meeting

Written May 6th, 2013 by
Categories: In The News


Chris Straw awards Ron Frickey, Assistant Principal at Garrett High School, for using the most guest speakers from Learning Link's speakers list in 2012-2013.

Chris Straw awards Ron Frickey, Assistant Principal at Garrett High School, for using the most guest speakers from Learning Link’s speakers list in 2012-2013.

BUTLER — Learning Link, an education initiative of the DeKalb County Community Foundation, hosted community members on April 29 at Eastside Junior-Senior High School.

About 70 people heard the most recent accomplishments of Learning Link’s five action teams and the recently organized Career Success Coalition. Audience members contributed questions, comments and suggestions to provide the action teams with direction for moving forward.

Jeff Burns, Steering Committee Chair for Learning Link, opened the meeting sharing that Learning Link’s efforts are being recognized by others throughout Indiana and the nation, including Indiana Grantmakers Alliance, Vision 20/20’s Talent Initiative, and Morgan Stanley, a prestigious international investment bank and wealth management firm, among others.

“All of this recognition and interest shown by these other organizations should confirm what we already know – that Learning Link is making an impact and making a difference,” said Burns. He continued thanking Community Foundation board members for their vision and ongoing support of the initiative.

In progress reports, early childhood reporter, Sherry Hanchar introduced an early learning summer calendar. The calendar is designed for families of entering kindergarten students. Alycia Gadson, a senior at Garrett High School, was recognized for her help creating the calendar that includes information and age-appropriate resources for families. In Spring 2012, 56 percent of children were screened as ‘ready’ based on a common tool covering academic, language and socio-emotional skills. Data for 2013 are not yet available.

The third-grade literacy team reporter Brennen Kitchen reported that in 2012, 83 percent of third graders countywide passed the I-READ 3 test. Data for 2013 will be available soon. Kitchen described a wide variety of community programs taking place across the county that are believed to impact the literacy levels of third grade students.

Speaking for the School-Business Partnerships team, Chris Straw reported that the team, working in tandem with the DeKalb Chamber Partnership, had “blown their goal (of making 50 connections between teachers and speakers from their guest speakers list) out of the water with 111 connections made.” Straw presented awards to:

  • Steve Bingham, who spent the most time interacting with students;
  • City of Butler, the employer who allowed employees the most time with students;
  • Garrett High School, for using the most guest speakers; and
  • Garrett High School teacher Troy Minton, who used the most guest speakers.

Reporting for DeKalb County’s Career Success Coalition, Rod Knox shared that the team is wrapping up its planning year with 24 member organizations. The Coalition’s goal for the percentage of adults with skill certifications, 2-to- 4-year and advanced degrees, is 60 percent by 2025.

Jerry Yoder, speaking for the Adult Education and Training team, announced a few of the results from the 2013 DeKalb County Career Development Fair.

  • An apprenticeship program between a DeKalb County business and Ivy Tech Northeast developed;
  • Forty admission packets were distributed by one college; and
  • Five students were enrolled in GED classes.

In conclusion, Yoder challenged the audience — “How do we let people know about all of the job openings in our county, and how do we prepare candidates with the skills and knowledge for these positions?” Speaking for the parenting education team, Melissa Eshbach shared the home page of a media-friendly website under construction for Learning Link.

“In four short years, the organization has become a model for other communities. Imagine how Attendees asked several questions related to data sources and measures, and the barriers to reaching 100 percent of children reading at grade level.

The next Learning Link community meeting will take place on Monday, October 14, 5:30 p.m. at the Auburn First United Methodist Church. For questions or more information about joining an action team, contact Judy Sorg at the DeKalb County Community Foundation, 260-925-0311 or e-mail Learning Link provides a platform upon which community members can work together to improve the quality of life for all in DeKalb County through continuous learning.

“Learning Link is on the front lines of coordinating educational resources to ensure that kids come to school ready to learn and that adults have access to all they need to improve their skills and the outlook for their families,” Jeff Burns said.

2013-05-06 Learning Link hosts community meeting