Pacific community effort results in third grant from James Irvine Foundation
Early-childhood literacy efforts in San Joaquin County, led by University of the Pacific's Beyond Our Gates initiative, received another two-year, $300,000 grant from the James Irvine Foundation to continue vital programs that help schoolchildren learn and improve reading skills. The grant is for 2020 and 2021. Pacific received identical gifts from the Irvine Foundation in 2016-17 and 2018-19.
“We are very grateful for the James Irvine Foundation’s continued support and partnership in improving opportunities for the children of our community, and supporting so many organizations who partner with us in these efforts,” said Mike Klocke, community relations director at Pacific.
Beyond Our Gates work aided by Irvine Foundation funding includes:
- The Every Day Counts Attendance Challenge, which combats chronic school absenteeism. More than 43,000 San Joaquin County pre-K through eighth-grade students had perfect attendance during the last challenge, held September 2019.
- An annual San Joaquin County Literacy Report Card, which brings awareness of key literacy trends. In the past four years, the percentage of county third graders reading at grade level has improved from 27% to 40%.
- A robust mini-grant program that helps local agencies fund ongoing or new early-literacy efforts. More than $250,000 in Irvine-funded mini-grants have been presented in the past four years.
- Bilingual summer learning guides, which help parents make sure their children are active learners even when school is not in session.
- Training sessions for teachers, pre-school and day-care providers, other educators and parents. One such program, “Diversity on the Bookshelves,” guided attendees on how to build a children’s book library that reflects the diversity in our community.
- The Annual Dialogue on Children’s Literacy draws approximately 200 attendees to hear national and local education experts speak about childhood literacy.
“Through funding from the Irvine Foundation, Beyond Our Gates has spearheaded many collaborative efforts to support early literacy and reading by third grade in our community,” said Suzy Daveluy, community services deputy director and city librarian for the city of Stockton. “One of the most beneficial of those efforts is the training provided to teachers, daycare providers and community partners in early literacy curriculum. Beyond Our Gates has been a leader and wonderful community partner.”
A Pacific student in the Community Involvement Program plays with kids during Family Day at the Park, a literacy and book fair in Stockton.