Reading proficiency is closely linked to high school graduation rates, yet over half of New York City students in grades 3 through 8 are not proficient in reading. Similarly, the NYC Department of Education has found that 76% of 8th grade students are not proficient in writing. Literacy remediation in elementary school is a key component to future academic success, with a critical intervention period between kindergarten and the 3rd grade.
We were the first major funder to recognize the opportunity Springboard Collaborative presented to harness the potential of parent-teacher collaboration to close the literacy gap; we underwrote its expansion in Philadelphia and replication to New York City. Springboard has since expanded to 29 cities across the country and has gained increased investment from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Blue Meridian, Michael and Susan Dell Foundation and the Oak Foundation. During a typical summer, most students experience a three-month regression in reading level. In a recent study, Springboard showed statistically significant reading growth across all program types. Participants in its high-touch Flagship program averaged 2.6 months of reading growth this summer. Participants in its newer, light-touch Springboard Learning Accelerator (SLA) program achieved a comparably impressive 1.8-month reading gain during the same 5-week period.
Springboard also offers an after-school program for the bottom quartile of readers for whom summer gains alone will not fully close the reading achievement gap. Students average a 3.5-month reading gain during the four months; parent workshops average 98% attendance.
We sought to make a catalytic change in Springboard’s programming and reach by supporting the creation of a lower-cost certification model in which Springboard trains and certifies teachers with a partner organization to implement and manage the Springboard program, and licenses products and services that unbundle its components. Based on Springboard’s success, and the continued need to address learning loss related to COVID-catalyzed school closures, we have also supported Springboard’s virtual summer and after-school programing in New York City charter schools.