Early Learning Specialist (Bilingual English/Spanish Required)

Job Title: Early Learning Specialist (Bilingual English/Spanish Required)
Department: Community Impact
Reports to: Director, Strategic Impact
Location: Manatee County
Date: August 2020

Summary:           This position supports early literacy and enrichment efforts in Manatee County including: Reading Rooms, Neighborhood Books Academic Support and The Big Plan. This position reports to the Director, Strategic Impact and collaborates with the Manager, Community Partnerships to expand “place based” neighborhood initiatives to reduce the barriers to quality education in early literacy and elementary education.

This position is an integral part of implementing The Big Plan in 10 Title 1 elementary schools and the surrounding communities/neighborhoods.  The Big Plan is a UWS Community Impact initiative that addresses grade-level reading for children ages 0-9 in their homes, early learning centers, elementary schools and their neighborhoods. Candidate must be compassionate, comfortable with outreach in low income neighborhoods, organized and results oriented. They must also believe and exemplify United Way Suncoast’s mission, vision and values. Fluent English/Spanish, both written and oral, required.

Essential Functions and Responsibilities Include the Following:

(Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.)

School Year:

  • Implement a well-organized learning environment with developmentally appropriate lessons and instructive modeling for parents and their children ages 0-5, through weekly Family Engagement Events at the Reading Rooms. Lessons should provide adequate opportunities for choice, play, exploration, and experimentation among a variety of learning, sensory and motor experiences. Promote a language and literacy rich environment to build early literacy skills.
  • Provide reading support and tutoring to students ages 4-9.
  • Responsible for recruitment of families and children to participate at the Reading Rooms.
  • Refer families to local organizations/services to support their educational and financial stability.
  • Collect and report accurate data including parent participation, achievement of early literacy milestones, volunteer/student attendance and volunteer/student retention.
  • Coordinate with partner agencies to have guest speakers around pertinent themes.
  • Ensure that the facilities and all equipment are clean, well-maintained and safe.
  • Assist with the recruitment, training and management of volunteers for The Big Plan programs including Reading Rooms, Neighborhood Books and Academic Support.
  • Assist in the management, distribution and replinishment of key program materials.
  • Coordinate and install Neighborhood Book locations i.e. Barbershops, Laundry Mats, WIC, etc.
  • Attend staff meetings and trainings as required by manager.
  • Attends and engages in community events as needed.
  • Ensures frequent and ongoing input from community members using Harwood’s Turned Outward Model.


  • Lead the implementation of a high-quality, engaging, and hands-on 6 weeklong Summer Literacy Program for a maximum of 30 children ages 4-9.
  • Provide supervision and ensure the safety and security of children at all times.
  • Manage volunteers and/or interns during the Summer Program to ensure sufficient coverage, positive classroom management, quality of care, reading supports and proper use and maintenance of the Reading Room.
  • Assist students in choosing level-appropriate books, reviewing reading strategies, school readiness activities and providing parent coaching as the opportunities arise.
  • Recruit children, families and volunteers to participate in Reading Room Summer Program.
  • Design lesson plans to correlate with weekly literacy/STEAM themes for the Summer Program.
  • Coordinate with partner agencies to have a weekly guest speaker i.e. ELC STEAM Machine, MOTE Marine, Jungle Gardens, Van Wezel, Ringling, etc.
  • Assist in the coordination of monthly family engagement events, designed to support early literacy and financial stability of families.
  • Collect and report accurate data including children’s attendance, book count, family engagement events, volunteer hours, reading comprehension sheets, partner participation, etc.
  • Complete the Summer Food Program Forms daily.
  • Guide, educate and encourage students to use iReady, Accelerated Reader software or other free educational apps on computers or tablets.
  • Be able to lead small and large group classroom instruction.

Core Values: Commitment to, and consistent demonstration of, UWS Core Values:

  • Integrity
  • Collaboration
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Stewardship
  • Innovation

Education and/or experience: Bachelor’s degree in education, early childhood education or related field required.  Must be able to demonstrate a high level of experience in teaching methods in an early education setting. Teacher’s Certificate required. Reading Endorsement, preferred. Previous experience working in Title 1 Elementary schools, preferred. Manatee County School District experience, preferred. Experience working with volunteers including recruitment, engagement, and tracking preferred but not required.  Bilingual English/Spanish, both written and oral, required.

Interpersonal Skills: Strong active listening, conflict resolution, coordination, facilitation, social perceptiveness, and consensus building skills necessary. Problem solving skills, cultural awareness and sensitivity skills are required.  Must have demonstrated a high level of experience and success in building productive professional/working relationships with diverse individuals and groups.

Computer Skills: Requires advanced knowledge of MS office software and database programs.

Licenses:  Valid Florida Driver’s License with a driving record that meets our insurance requirements.

Physical Demands:  While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit, talk and/or hear.  The employee is frequently required to use finger and hand motions and regularly required to stand, walk and reach with hands and arms. The employee must occasionally lift and/or move objects up to 50 lbs.  Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision and ability to adjust focus.

Work Environment:  Employee primarily works in an environment under moderate heat and noise levels, with extensive in the field activities within the Manatee area.

All applicants will be required to undergo a Level 2 background screening, to include fingerprinting, in order to meet the requirements of working with children.  Only local candidates will be considered.

United Way Suncoast provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws.  This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.

*Please note that this job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job.  Duties, responsibilities, and activities may change at any time with or without notice.

To apply for this position, please visit: https://careers.unitedway.org