WGBH News and Media Relations

 

May 19, 2015

Telling Our Stories Report Shows Gains in Adolescent Literacy

Walmart Foundation grant prompts results for disadvantaged students across six programs

BOSTON, Massachusetts (May 19, 2015) – A report released today by WGBH Boston and five other organizations found significant increases in educational outcomes in literacy, based on programs they implemented with middle school students across the country. The work of the six organizations was funded by a $33 million adolescent literacy grant from the Walmart (NYSE: WMT) Foundation. 

Titled Telling Our Stories, the report (http://middleschoolsuccess.net/) profiles each organization’s research-driven solution to bridging gaps in adolescent literacy and improving education outcomes for disadvantaged students. The grant recipient organizations are: BELL, Citizen Schools, City Year, Innovations in Civic Participation, National Summer Learning Association, and WGBH Boston.

"Walmart is dedicated to strengthening the communities it serves around the world. The Walmart Foundation grants profiled here have benefited thousands of students in the most disadvantaged schools in the country,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, CEO, Walmart Foundation. “These initiatives offer a rich collection of data-driven outcomes and best practices for leveling the educational playing field for all of our nation's students."

The Walmart Foundation selected the six organizations because of their successful track records in directly improving literacy outcomes for high-needs students, and each organization’s ability to build a program that would be scalable and sustainable over time. Each organization’s adolescent literacy program showed significant measurable increases in academic outcomes for participating students:

  • Four months of gains in math and two months of gains in literacy skills for BELL summer scholars in six weeks.
  • English Language arts proficiency in grades served by Citizen Schools extended learning time increased by an average of 4.2 points, and math proficiency increased by 6.2 points each year.   
  • A full letter grade improvement in English language arts for 39% of sixth through ninth graders working with City Year in the 2012-2013 school year.
  • Expansion of Innovations in Civic Participation programs to over 600 at-risk students in seven communities.
  • An average gain in math of 4.1 months by NSLA Summer Advantage USA scholars in Chicago and Indianapolis, and an advancement rate of 94% to top college preparatory schools by scholars in Washington D.C.’s Higher Achievement Program.
  • An 8% increase in vocabulary for 300 students after completing just five WGBH-developed literacy lessons that were funded with the grant.

 

About BELL

BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) is a national non-profit organization that partners with schools and community organizations to expand learning time in the summer and after school.  BELL's mission is to transform the academic achievements, self-confidence, and life trajectories of children living in under-resourced, urban communities.  More info at www.experiencebell.org.

 

About Citizen Schools

Citizen Schools is a national nonprofit organization that partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for children in low-income communities. Citizen Schools mobilizes a team of AmeriCorps educators and volunteer “Citizen Teachers” to teach real-world learning projects and provide academic support in order to help all students discover and achieve their dreams. For more information, please visit http://www.citizenschools.org/.

 

About City Year

City Year is dedicated to helping students and schools succeed. Diverse teams of City Year AmeriCorps members serve full-time in high-poverty urban schools, providing high-impact student, classroom, and school-wide support to help students stay in school and on track to graduate from high school, ready for college and career success.

A proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network, City Year is made possible by support from the Corporation for National and Community Service, school district partnerships, and private philanthropy from corporations, foundations and individuals.

Learn more at www.cityyear.org

 

About Innovations in Civic Participation

Innovations in Civic Participation (ICP) is a global leader in the field of Youth Civic Engagement. ICP believes that well-structured youth service programs can provide innovative solutions to social and environmental issues, while helping young people develop skills for future employment and active citizenship. ICP carries out its mission through three main activities: 1) Incubating innovative models for youth service programs; 2) Assisting governmental and civil society organizations with the development of youth service programs and policies; and 3) Conducting research and serving as a source of information on youth civic engagement, especially national youth service and service-learning.  Learn more at http://www.icicp.org/

 

About The National Summer Learning Association

The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) is the only national nonprofit exclusively focused on closing the achievement gap by increasing access to high-quality summer learning opportunities. NSLA recognizes and disseminates what works, offers expertise and support for programs and communities, and advocates for summer learning as a solution for equity and excellence in education. NSLA’s work is driven by the belief that all children and youth deserve high-quality summer learning experiences that will help them succeed in college, career, and life. For more information, visit www.summerlearning.org.

 

About WGBH

WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web, including Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Arthur, Curious George and more than a dozen other prime-time, lifestyle, and children’s series. WGBH also is a major supplier of programming for public radio, and oversees Public Radio International (PRI). As a leader in educational multimedia for the classroom, WGBH supplies content to PBS LearningMedia, a national broadband service for teachers and students. WGBH also is a pioneer in technologies and services that make media accessible to those with hearing or visual impairments. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors. More info at www.wgbh.org.

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WGBH Media Relations

Ellen London
ellen_london@wgbh.org
617-300-3904

Emily Balk
emily_balk@wgbh.org
617-300-5317

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