Blue Ridge is pilot site for rural family literacy services

Parents attend a presentation on PACT time in the Family Resource Center. Family Learning Specialist Sherri Hudson (shown in background) gives the presentation assisted by Site Coordinator Kim Whitley.

The Family Resource Center offers a wide array of free services to Blue Ridge parents and is now functioning as a pilot site for the Arizona Statewide Family Engagement Center (AZ SFEC) Project.

Blue Ridge Elementary School (BRES) has been selected as one of the first three pilot sites to be established.

“Site Leader Terry Hurst and I are committed to bringing this amazing program to Blue Ridge to make a positive impact not only for children’s academic success but for the entire family’s success,” stated Site Coordinator Kim Whitley.

The pilot site is located in the BRES Family Resource Center. BRES has 25 families with children K-3 participating from October to May of the current school year. There are four components to the program: adult education, children’s education, Parent Time (PT) and Parent and Child Together (PACT) time.

The adult education component includes three or four hours per week to assist with obtaining a GED, English language learning, literacy, financial education, college preparation and technical skills.

Parent Time is two hours per week for networking, discipline, nutrition, employment skills, life skills, and readiness for kindergarten.

PACT time is one hour per week for parent and child to play, read, and learn language. Emotional and cognitive development also takes place. It’s an opportunity to use skills developed in PT.

Another component of the program is providing free books for students. Madeline McGuffee with Unite for Literacy provides 100 free books, four books per week for 25 weeks, mailed to the home for free. Also a free digital library with 400 plus books narrated in 30 plus languages is available at www.uniteforliteracy.com

For more information about free books, contact madeline.mcguffee@uniteforliteracy.com

The Goal of the Arizona Statewide Family Engagement Center (AZ SFEC) Project is to create three sites per year up to 12 sites. Each local school model demonstration site will serve the surrounding community by improving academic achievement for disadvantaged students. The resources available will assist parents and their families as they seek to improve the educational choices for their children.

The AZ SFEC Project is being funded by a $4.4 million grant awarded over five years to the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) and Read On Arizona.

The Arizona Team includes the Arizona Department of Education, Make Way for Books, Southwest Human Development and Unite for Literacy with Read On Arizona serving as the Lead State Partner.

The Resource Center is open to any Blue Ridge parent from 8 am to noon Monday through Friday.

For more information about the Family Resource Center or the SFEC Project, contact Kim Whitley at 520-344-2849 or kwhitley@brusd.org.

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