Springboard Collaborative Exports Summer Reading Program to West Coast - Generocity Philly

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Mar. 17, 2015 12:53 pm

Springboard Collaborative Exports Summer Reading Program to West Coast

Model for teaching literacy spreads from Philly to Oakland

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View of Bay Bridge from Oakland


Springboard Collaborative, a nonprofit that helps students in Pre-K through 3rd grade continue to grow their reading skills through the summer break, pioneered its nationally-recognized model in Philadelphia and Camden. Now it’s going bi-coastal with an expansion to Oakland, CA.

Starting this summer, the nonprofit will operate in four schools serving 480 students in the Bay Area city. Teachers from the partnering schools will be trained in implementing the five-week program, which includes half-day literacy instruction based on reading level, rather than grade level, family workshops designed to help parents teach their children to read, and home visits to form strong partnerships between teachers, students and parents.

Why Oakland?

Springboard Collaborative Founder Alejandro Gac-Artigas said it came down to local support.

“There’s two things that matter most: one is local ownership, so being pulled into a region rather than pushing our way in. The second thing that matters is timelines; the longer we have to plan implementation, the smoother a process it will be,” he said.

Springboard Collaborative set a threshold of four schools and around 500 students served. “Which ever city could commit to that threshold first is where we would commit to growing,” Gac-Artigas said.

Meeting that threshold depends on getting schools partners and local philanthropic support, he added.

The GreenLight Fund, a foundation with a presence in both Philadelphia and the Bay Area, helped by funding the start-up costs of the expansion, as well as helping connect with local schools and partners.

Springboard Collaborative will work in charter schools and public schools in Oakland. A pair of local foundations, the Kenneth Rainin Foundation and the Rogers Family Foundation, have committed to have committed to subsidizing Springboard’s partnership fees to teachers for their time.

Gac-Artigas noted that Oakland already has a strong culture of collaboration between education, philanthropic and service sectors, which may actually exceed Philadelphia’s collaborative efforts.

From our Partners

“I think Philly is seeing more and more of that shared vision through the Campaign for Grade Level Reading,” said Gac-Artigas, referring to the national network of education organizations which Philadelphia joined in 2013. “But I think it’s been in place a longer time in California.”

But there’s another reason Oakland was chosen. Having a presence on both coasts has strategic significance, according to Gac-Artigas, and the nonprofit has ambitions beyond its three current locations.

“We’re also excited at the opportunity to gain a powerful new platform in order to change the national conversation,” Gac-Artigas said.

There are 10 million low-income children enter 4th grade without the reading skills they need, he added, and Springboard’s goal is to address the problem at that scale.

Photo via Flickr user Mike Behnken

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