For immediate release
Judy Sorg, Director
DeKalb County Learning Link
DeKalb County Community Foundation
To: Dave Kurtz, KPC News, Sue Carpenter, Garrett Clipper, Jeff Jones, Butler Bulletin
Date: May 12, 2014
Learning Link, an education initiative of the Community Foundation DeKalb County, hosted their April 29 community meeting at Celebration Hall in Garrett.
“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,” said Jeff Burns, past Chair of the Learning Link Steering Committee.
About 80 people heard the most recent accomplishments of Learning Link’s action teams. Between team reports, guests asked questions and offered insights on the teams’ work.
“Countywide, 62% of our 3rd grade students scored at or above ‘proficiency’ on the 2014 NWEA winter assessment. This will be our baseline,” shared Megan Curtis, reporting for the 3rd grade literacy team. According to the team’s other data point, 94% of 3rd graders passed the I-READ 3 test in summer 2013; the team awaits summer 2014 I-READ scores.
Early childhood reporter, Tonya Weaver, shared that in Spring 2013, “only 54% of entering kindergarten students were screened as ready for success in school. Our goal of 90% of entering kindergarten students prepared for success in school by 2015, in hindsight, was unrealistic. We’ll re-visit that goal.”
Weaver recognized Garrett High School senior, Corey New, for creating an early learning summer calendar for families of children entering school, and shared the recent progress of forming a new group around ages “birth to three”, led by United Way of DeKalb County.
Wes Husselman, speaking on behalf of the newly organized birth to three group, told guests to watch for a new program called “Let’s Talk”, funded by United Way. The program focuses on teaching all new parents at DeKalb Health about the importance of having conversations with their babies beginning at or before birth.
Becky Pfeffer, representing the school-business partnerships team, reported they’d been conducting “meet and greets” between business leaders and middle and high school teachers at DeKalb Central, Garrett and Lakewood Park. “Teachers were empowered by what they heard from the community’s business leaders,” Pfeffer shared.
Pfeffer presented team awards to a teacher, a business, a school and a community volunteer for their efforts during the past school year connecting businesses with DeKalb County students and teachers. Awards went to Suzanne Laker of Change Academy, Guardian Industries, Garrett High School, and Jamie Bell of Guardian Industries, respectively.
Rod Knox, reporting for DeKalb County’s Career Success Coalition, shared that 30 member organizations are assisting students and adults in planning, preparing and paying for learning beyond high school. The Coalition’s goal for the percentage of adults with skill certifications, 2-, 4-year and advanced degrees, is 60 percent by 2025. Knox clarified, “by career success, we’re including skills training, 2- and 4-year degrees, and military training.”
Speaking for the Adult Education & Training team, Shannon Carpenter shared results from the 2014 Career Expo, spear-headed by the DeKalb Chamber Partnership. Eighty-one percent of the students who attended the said they learned (1) how to prepare for and interview more effectively; (2) about college majors and degree programs, and (3) that there are many resources in their community.
Speaking for the parenting education team, Wayne Funk and Melissa Eshbach shared plans for an awareness campaign designed to attract parents to parenting classes. The theme for the campaign is “kids don’t come with instructions”.
Attendees’ questions related to using social media, the Common Core standards, and the fine line between ensuring an educated workforce in DeKalb County versus helping students pursue their dreams.
Learning Link will host a fall community meeting on Monday, November 10, at 5:30 p.m. in Waterloo. For questions or more information, contact Judy Sorg at the DeKalb County Community Foundation, 260-925-0311 or e-mail JSorg@DeKalbFoundation.org. Information is also available at www.DeKalbLearningLink.org.
Learning Link provides a platform upon which community members work together to improve the quality of life for all in DeKalb County through continuous learning.