'AmeriCorps Builds Lives Through Education’ program to partner with early childhood programs in Erie & Niagara counties to build math skills in preschool-aged students
Congressman Brian Higgins joined The Service Collaborative of WNY Inc. Executive Director Kate Sarata and other partners to announce a federal grant through the Corporation for National and Community Service for a new early intervention effort to provide a foundation that prepares preschool children for success in mathematics.
The Service Collaborative of WNY was awarded $499,999 in federal funding through the 2019 AmeriCorps State & National Grant Competition. In addition, a total of $205,143 will be available for educational awards, for participating “AmeriCorps Builds Lives Through Education” (ABLE) members, which can be used to pay for college expenses or student loans. The Service Collaborative will also pursue approximately $293,000 in matching funds, bringing the total project commitment to nearly $1 million.
“Once again, The Service Collaborative of WNY is helping to build a stronger community through national service projects that address areas of need,” Higgins said. “Data clearly demonstrates early intervention is critically important to providing children a path to educational success. This grant identifies areas of concern and works to close the gap early.”
“The Service Collaborative has infused hope into public and charter schools in Buffalo through the ‘AmeriCorps Builds Lives through Education’ program for 15 years. ABLE has established itself as the primary provider of high-quality national service educational support to students, but also has the experience and established relationships to broaden its impact,” Sarata said. “ABLE is changing its focus for several reasons, including: current partners’ strong concern about kindergarten readiness; education leader discussions stressing the need for more early childhood support; and the lack of qualified individuals applying to jobs in the early childhood field.”
Through this initiative, 35 AmeriCorps members will work with 175 preschool-aged children (3 and 4 years old) in early childhood locations across Erie and Niagara counties to improve math (numeracy) school readiness outcomes, including Head Start locations.
Children from low-income households underperform compared to children from middle-income households on a variety of foundational math skills, including counting and recognizing and comparing numbers. Studies show the importance of school readiness having long-term effects on students. Children with higher levels of school readiness are more successful in grade school, are less likely to drop out of high school, and earn more as adults.
Students assessed as performing “below” development benchmarks in math concepts will meet in small group settings with ABLE members two times each week for evidence-based math games involving specific math content proven to close the gap in math between low- and middle-income students. The goal of the program is for 80% of the students to be meeting or exceeding standards by the end of the seven-month project period.
In addition to boosting student performance, the program is designed to address the lack of qualified individuals applying to jobs in the field of early-education. The Child Care Resource Network is partnering with The Service Collaborative to provide the AmeriCorps members with Childhood Development Associated credential training. This certification will broaden the ABLE members’ training and open the door to career opportunities in the field of early childhood education.
The Service Collaborative is one of just 14 awards granted in New York. Learn more about national service opportunities through The Service Collaborative of WNY by visiting tscwny.org.