THE STAR, April 20, 2015
BUTLER — Learning Link, an education initiative of the Community Foundation DeKalb County, held its spring community meeting April 13 at Eastside Junior-Senior High School.
“Our purpose for these meetings is to inform, engage new people, and ensure Learning Link is working countywide,” stated Ken McCrory, chairman of the Learning Link Steering Committee.
Approximately 60 people heard the most recent accomplishments of Learning Link’s action teams. Action teams are groups of volunteers focused on one piece of the lifelong learning continuum, from early childhood to adult education. “Collectively, they work to advance education levels countywide,” said Judy Sorg, director of the education initiative for the community foundation. Teams work to align organizations around common goals to improve learning outcomes for children and adults.
The Parenting Education team asked attendees to “like” and “share” the DeKalb County Parents Facebook page, setting a goal of having 1,000 followers; “today there are 143, ” said Melissa Eshbach. The team started the page to provide easy access to information about upcoming learning opportunities and community events for DeKalb County parents, and asks community members to send information about upcoming events to Sorg at Learning Link, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reporters for the Adult Education & Training team shared results of the March 12 Career Expo, spearheaded by the DeKalb Chamber. Disappointed in the attendance at the Expo, Carol Platt asked attendees for ideas to increase attendance at a 2016 Career Fair. Mark Franke reported that the team “is working to improve data collection of adult post-secondary technical and employment credentials. With year-to-year data, we can analyze it for improvement and identify areas for future efforts.”
Rod Knox, reporting for the Career Success Coalition, encouraged any organizations interested in joining the DeKalb County Coalition to attend a luncheon at Garrett City Hall at 11:30 a.m. Thursday. RSVP to email@example.com. The Coalition works to help students and adults plan, prepare and pay for college.
The School-Business Partnerships team, represented by Chris Straw and Becky Pfeffer, reported several new ideas ranging from sharing information with families about community organizations offering extracurricular programs for youth, to hosting “Tuesday Talks” by business leaders in DeKalb County high schools to share the expanding career options in high growth fields of work.
The Third Grade Literacy team shared that “second- and third-grade NWEA language arts scores countywide are slightly higher this year compared to 2014. We hope to see that continue,” said Marcy Winterholter. Going forward, the team is focusing on community and parent engagement.
Pre-kindergarten team member Connie Fullerton shared that readiness for school “isn’t a mere checklist. The research tells us that children’s readiness for school is built on a strong foundation of social and emotional development, being independent, cooperative, caring, curious, and problem solvers. These skills are developed through play, interaction, and language. In this way, letters and numbers take on meaning, setting the stage for success,” Fullerton said.
Sherry Crisp-Ridge, director of DeKalb Central’s preschool, shared that United Way’s Let’s Talk initiative, promotes “talking to your baby” through visits with new parents at DeKalb Health. By age three, a disadvantaged child has heard 30 million fewer words than an advantaged child. As part of United Way’s early learning initiative, Let’s Talk is one more effort to increase the number of DeKalb County children prepared for early success in school, the long-term goal of Learning Link’s Early Childhood team.
Learning Link will host its next community meeting on Thursday, October 8 at First United Methodist Church in Auburn.
For questions or more information, contact Judy Sorg at the Community Foundation, 260-925-0311, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Information is also available at lldekalb.org. Learning Link provides a platform upon which community members work together through continuous learning to improve the quality of life for all in DeKalb County.