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United Way awards additional funding to Summit Education Initiative to support student success

Oct 23, 2014

United Way of Summit County has awarded Summit Education Initiative (SEI) $40,000 in education funds to implement the ReadiStep assessment for eighth- and ninth-grade students in Summit County districts for the 2014-2015 academic year. ReadiStep measures skills students need to be on track for success as they transition to high school.

The investment is part of United Way’s new education funding strategy that targets alignment with the goals and framework of the Summit County Cradle to Career Alliance (C2C). All requests for United Way education funding are viewed against six transition points critical for student success. Earlier this year United Way announced an investment of more than $1 million annually from its Community Impact Fund during the next three years in community programs and initiatives that advance improvements in the area of education.

Readistep addresses an existing gap in measurement and assessment that informs the “On Track in 9th Grade” transition point within the C2C pipeline. The assessment measures progression of skills and will help schools target interventions at critical points in a student’s academic career. It provides new insight into students’ academic progress and also equips educators with tools they can use to make informed decisions in the classroom.

Nine public school districts and one non-public school district in Summit County have taken advantage of ReadiStep. This first cohort includes nearly 4,000 students attending 11 middle schools (8th graders) and 9 high schools (9th graders). These students were given the ReadiStep last week.

Following receipt of ReadiStep results participating schools will establish a network of teachers, principals and counselors who have a common knowledge of the results and the predictive value for state assessments and the ACT. The network will collaborate to better understand current results and to improve future assessments as a way to intervene and support at-risk students. After State of Ohio assessment results are received, members of the network will again convene to examine if these interventions led to positive gains. 

SEI hopes to expand the number of schools participating in ReadiStep to include all Summit County 8th and 9th graders. ReadiStep is a critical component in the implementation of a county-wide “college and career-ready” educational assessment system. This is the beginning of building a college and career ready climate in Summit County schools and changing the conversation to college readiness in middle school, rather than the end of 11th grade. ReadiStep is the first step on SEI’s College Readiness Pathway followed by the PSAT, Practice ACT, and SAT/ACT or ACT Workkeys.

About Summit Education Initiative
Summit Education Initiative is a non-profit backbone organization working for collective impact to significantly improve educational outcomes for all children in Summit County.  SEI strives to improve personal and regional prosperity through increased educational attainment by helping all students to graduate ready for success in their chosen career pathways.  SEI recognizes that schools cannot do this work alone and thus organizes school and community-wide efforts that engage families, faith communities, and youth serving organizations to understand the importance of educational attainment and how they can contribute to student success.

About United Way of Summit County
United Way of Summit County advances the common good by creating opportunities for a better life for all. Our focus is on Education, Income and Health because these are the building blocks for a good quality of life. We train a spotlight on critical issues, engage with private and public sector leaders and coordinate agendas with partners to leverage Collective Impact. We invite everyone to be part of the change by giving, advocating and volunteering. When we work together in common purpose, we LIVE UNITED. For more information about United Way of Summit County visit uwsummit.org

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