The Bozeman Noon Rotary Club intends to enter into a community coalition with the Bozeman Schools Foundation to create a new early literacy program for the Bozeman School District ("BSD7").
Literacy is fundamental to the ongoing success of our students and communities. Access to research based early literacy training and resources is not readily available to families with preschool aged children in the Bozeman community. Providing training via experts in early literacy, who understand and can make accessible to parents the cognitive science of early literacy and how young brains make sense of language and orthographically map that language to print is essential in maximizing the early literacy skills students enter school with in Kindergarten. Bozeman Publics Schools has consistent data that shows a target score of 530 on the STAR assessment in kindergarten is a good predictor of reading success by 3rd grade. Early Literacy Matters!
BSD7 has a district wide literacy goal that by the end of 2022, 85% of all children entering kindergarten will have requisite literacy skills as measured by STAR Early Literacy Assessment. Currently, only around 60% of students entering kindergarten have the requisite literacy skills.
The goal of the Early Literacy Nights Project is to connect BSD7 families with preschool age children with training, resources, and support to help them provide high quality early literacy instruction to their children. The initial launch of the project will include family literacy training events in the four Title I elementary schools in Bozeman. Parents would receive training and "early literacy kits" featuring materials from the Lee Pesky Learning Center in Boise, ID. The materials were recommended and vetted by the national literacy consultant working with BSD7 teachers, Dr. Danielle Thompson CCC-SLP.
The initial launch of providing the literacy training events at the four elementary Title 1 schools in Bozeman ensures that the training and resources are targeted at the underserved populations in our community. Additional training events will be targeted at community partners and agencies that also work with families who have fewer resources and access to high quality early literacy supports for their children.
The Bozeman Noon Rotary Club has an opportunity to partner with BSD7 and Bozeman Schools Foundation to provide financial support in reaching the approximate $45,000 budget goal. Additionally, Bozeman Noon Rotary Club members have the opportunity to provide as needed boots on the ground support with the initial literacy training events (putting literacy kits together, transportation of materials, food service, logistics). Following the initial BSD7 literacy training events at four elementary schools, there will also be further training and follow up events with community partners and agencies in the community working with families who have preschool aged children. Bozeman Noon Rotary Club Members will have on-going opportunities if they want to engage in the ongoing efforts to connect training and literacy kits with the parents and organizations that need them.
By nature of the early literacy goal adopted by the Bozeman Public Schools we are acknowledging upfront that it can only happen through partnerships with our community. Bozeman does not currently have large scale preschool programs in our district, thus, we are dependent on community partnerships and must go to where families are with young children. We foresee partnerships in the future with other local agencies that work with families who have preschool aged children.
Our initial timeline for rolling out this project is a kick-off that aligns with the Fall 2021 BSD7 academic calendar. The project will continue to hold family nights and offer supplies and materials throughout the 2021-2022 academic school year during this initial launch. We anticipate that future community partnerships and coalitions will be necessary as the initiative grows and develops over the next 5-10 years to identify more stable and consistent funding sources over time.
The Bozeman Noon Rotary Club is currently committed to funding $7,500 of this project from its own Club funds and from individual Rotary donations. In partnership with the Bozeman Schools Foundation, there will be a fundraiser to raise an approximate $30,000 more. Expenditures for this project are very supply and material dense. We anticipate needing approximately 1,000 Pesky Center Kits in the initial year, which are estimated to cost $32,884.50. In addition, the project's success is largely dependent upon using a trained and targeted Literacy Consultant who can offer support, education, and tools for families and children. The Literacy Consultant fees in year one are estimated at $1,200. In order to effectively disperse the kits, we will need to include bags and there are some manipulatives that can supplement the rest of the kits' materials. Bags and manipulatives for 1,000 children are estimated at $7,000. Finally, the family nights will give us a gathering spot, but that will cost food and drink. Food and drink for the family night events are estimated at $1,950. The total estimated expenditures are $43,034.50.