The Big Plan
Education changes the trajectory of a child’s life. Children who graduate high school earn nearly twice as much as a child without a high school diploma and children who read on grade-level by the end of third grade are four times more likely to graduate high school.
In the 2017-2018 school year there were 989 3rd grade students at 10 Title 1 Manatee Elementary Schools. 75%, 742 of students, tested as not reading on grade level by the end of 3rd grade. The Big Plan is a community partnership focused on cutting that number in half by 2026.
The 10 schools of focus were identified by the School District of Manatee County (SDMC) as consistently underperforming.
|Central Manatee County||North Manatee County||South Manatee County|
|Manatee||Palmetto||Samoset (early adopter)|
The attendance zones of these schools have the highest population of families in poverty or that fall into the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) population in Manatee County.
How Will We Meet Our Target?
We will achieve our target through our investments, partnerships and collaboration; developing strategies and action plans focused on our children and families within the attendance zones of the 10 schools, while aligning with the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (SCGLR) pillars.
United Way Suncoast is the lead for the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading in Manatee County, an effort to help all children, especially those from ALICE families, succeed in school by ensuring they read on grade level by the end of third grade.
We invest in programming located in and/or serving children and families within the school attendance zones, with a focus on ensuring children enter kindergarten ready to learn (Birth through pre-kindergarten), children are reading on grade level by the end of 3rd grade (Kindergarten through Elementary School) and removing barriers, such as food insecurity.
This year UWS invested $453,092 to support 13 programs in Manatee County. Program support includes:
- Educational summer camps to negate summer slide
- Tutoring and after-school reading support
- Fun parent-child learn & play classes and home visiting to develop early learning
- Food pantries and fresh produce distributions
- VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance)
UWS School Readiness Supports
Quality Childcare Initiative – In collaboration with the Early Learning Coalition, United Way Suncoast supports the key quality components of childcare at selected early childcare centers.
United4Literacy Kits – United4Literacy Kits were developed to be used in churches and other community spaces. Volunteers work with children on focused kits for children ranging from 3 through 2nd grade to build their early literacy and grade-level reading skills with games and fun activities.
Reading Rooms – Designed to bring educational resources and programs to where our ALICE families live, community housing neighborhoods. This “place-based” neighborhood initiative is designed to eliminate the barriers to quality education, while providing a platform to financial stability resources for families.
A Principals Fund was developed to address barriers related to learning or to train/recognize staff at our Big Plan schools. All active Big Plan schools receive $1,000 per school year and remaining schools receive $500 per year.
UWS has provided $130,000 in funding to the School District of Manatee County to fund 5 Paraprofessionals positions in 1st grade classrooms at five of the Big Plan schools to further support students throughout the 2021-2022 school year.
Our lead partners in The Big Plan include: