Starting Gate Afterschool Literacy Program

Closing the gap in achievement that separates economically disadvantaged students and students of color from less disadvantaged students has been the focus of discussion, research and controversy for nearly 40 years. While the gap narrowed considerably through the late 1980s, particularly between blacks and whites, progress since then has been marginal — and below-par achievement of minority and disadvantaged students remains one of the most pressing problems in education.

The Starting Gate has a proven program that is helping close the gap. The Starting Gate, established by the Race For Education in 2011, it is an afterschool literacy program, in central Kentucky, created to provide middle school students from communities with a high population of low-income, minority families and English Language Learners with academic and social support services. After 4 years, the program has a record of improving MAP scores in every classroom, within every school where the program is offered.

This program is provided by the Race for Education free of charge to both the school district and to the students and is only located in Title 1 schools (meaning 50% or more of the students are eligible for free or reduced lunch). In participating schools the program is offered 2 or 4 days per week, for 2 hours immediately following dismissal. During the 2014 – 2015 school year each student could receive up to 180 hours of personalized support. The approximate student breakdown is 45% African American, 40% Latino, and 15% Caucasian.

Our primary purpose is to address the very basic literacy skill of reading fluency and comprehension to help students improve their overall academic performance. We do this through reading, writing, current events, life skills and college and career readiness. We also provide exposure to educational and cultural opportunities via field trips, local performing arts events and guest speakers. Our goal is to help our students improve their grades while also advocating for the importance of college and career readiness. We incorporate these larger ideas and experiences into applicable literacy activities.

We staff each classroom with a certified teacher and teaching interns who are college students majoring in education. This allows us to offer a 4 to 1 student teacher ratio and provides for consistency and mentoring. This model allows us to be more effective than drop in programs and typical volunteer tutoring.

Please contact our office for current locations and program availability.