By Tracy Correa
Efforts to improve literacy rates on the Central Coast are working thanks to the work of the Northern Santa Barbara County United Way with financial support from PG&E.
On Monday (Sept. 10), officials from Santa Maria High School, the city of Santa Maria, United Way and PG&E gathered to talk about the results of the United for Literacy Partnership and the new Reading Plus program at the high school. A description of the program and how it has improved reading rates for students was detailed in a Santa Maria Times story.
This year, PG&E provided $7,500 to the United Way’s reading programs designed to improve literacy on the Central Coast.
At Santa Maria High, students who have been reading below grade level have shown significant improvement with new Reading Plus computer software purchased through the program.
“It’s making a profound difference in the lives of students,” said Eddie Taylor, CEO of the Northern Santa Barbara County United Way.
The United Way has worked hard in recent years to build its business community partnership to help improve literacy on the Central Coast where about 20,000 students are reading below grade level, he said. The lack of education, which includes literacy, is “the No. 1 economic issue of our lifetime,” Taylor said.
Schools are struggling as education funding continues to get cut, he said, which is why private-sector business partnerships are important to help fill the gaps.
“We cannot do this without the continued and ongoing support of PG&E and other community-minded organizations,” said Taylor.
Email Tracy Correa at email@example.com.