The Big Plan

Changing the Story for Children in Manatee

Education changes the trajectory of a child’s life. We know that 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, 75% of the children in Manatee’s Central Corridor tested as not reading on grade level by the end of 3rd grade. The Central Corridor has the highest population of families in poverty or that fall into the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) population in Manatee County.

The Big Plan is a community partnership focused on cutting that number in half at 10 Title 1 Elementary schools across the Central Corridor over the next five years.

These schools were identified by the School District of Manatee County (SDMC) as having consistently been scored as a “D” or “F” rated school. They are:

Central Region North Region South Region
Ballard Palm View Daughtrey
Rogers Garden Blackburn Oneco
Manatee Palmetto Samoset

How Will We Meet Our Target?

We will achieve our target through partnership and collaboration; focusing on literacy strategies, action plans and volunteerism within Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (SCGLR) strategies, with a focus on three age groups:

  • Birth to 3 years
  • 4 to 5 years
  • 6 to 9 years

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 low-income families, succeed in school by ensuring they read on grade level by the end of third grade. Our partners in SCGLR – the School District of Manatee County, Manatee County Government, Manatee Community Foundation, Early Learning Coalition and The Patterson Foundation – will be our partners in this continuation of our early literacy work.

Initially working with two pilot schools, Samoset and Palm View, individual targets were set by each school to reduce the number of children not reading on grade-level by the end of the 2019-20 school year. The additional eight schools will be rolled out over the following 2-to-3 years.

Studies show we can move the needle by focusing on three key areas affecting early learning:

  • Improving the schools where these children are learning to read.
  • Helping the families weighed down by poverty.
  • Encouraging better federal, state and local policy to improve the lot of both schools and families.

Our focus includes aligning quality early education programs with the curriculum and standards in the primary grades; paying better attention to health and developmental needs of young children; and providing work training and other programs that will help lift families out of poverty.

To learn more about The Big Plan, please click here.

Advisory Council