SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--When children from
wealthy school districts fall behind in school, they can often turn to
private tutoring firms or state-of-the-art computer technology for
help. But when low-income students start to fall behind, they rarely
have the same options. In an effort to level the playing field, San
Francisco Giants outfielder Barry Bonds and United Way of the Bay Area
are launching a new project to give low-income, low-scoring Bay Area
children the same chance to succeed.
The project, Link 'n Learn, will be announced Tuesday, Jan. 16, at
a 1 p.m. press conference (featuring Bonds, school administrators,
United Way representatives, parents, and children), at the Verde
Elementary School, 2000 Giaramita Street, in North Richmond. Verde
Elementary is the lowest-scoring school in California according to the
state's standardized test scores (SAT-9).
"There's been a feeling of neglect in North Richmond for a long
time, a feeling we've been forgotten," said Janice Thompson, principal
of Verde Elementary. "But now there's excitement in the air - a sense
that we're ready to move forward. This project will help open the door
of knowledge for our children."
The new, two-year program, Link 'n Learn, will use two of the best
private tutoring firms in the country, Sylvan Learning Systems and
Lightspan Partnership, new computers, and Sony playstations with
educational software. The goal is to raise by at least one grade level
the literacy rates of 1,500 low-income Bay Area students who have
scored in the bottom quarter of the state's SAT-9 test. The program
will launch at Verde Elementary with 84 children, but will expand to
other schools and community centers in some of the poorest
neighborhoods of Oakland, San Francisco, and East Palo Alto.
The project was conceived by Bonds, who became concerned about the
plight of low-scoring Bay Area children after enrolling his own son in
an after-school tutoring program: "His attitude towards learning began
to change and his academic performance improved," Bonds said. "I felt
I had to do whatever I could to give other Bay Area children equal
access to the same type of program that helped my son."
Bonds turned to United Way of the Bay Area for help developing the
program. The project targets second and third grades because those are
critical years in a child's academic development. By fourth grade,
underachieving students are likely to remain behind: "This project
will change kids' lives," said Anne Wilson, Chief Executive Officer of
United Way of the Bay Area. "Our aim is to build their skills, build
their self-esteem, and create lifelong learners. We are so grateful to
Barry Bonds for his leadership and vision in making this possible."
The program comes at a critical time in California, which has
adopted new standardized achievement exams and state laws that mandate
the retention of students who are not performing at their grade
The project is being sponsored by the Barry Bonds Family
Foundation, United Way of the Bay Area, AT&T, IBM and others.
By elcerritowire.com |