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Literacy Coalition News
July/August 2014


A new Central New York tradition has begun!

Our inaugural Stories of the Season event last year totally exceeded our expectations! From the delicious food to the visit from Santa, the tree lighting in Clinton Square to the live music, all the children's activities and of course, the stunning setting in the Clinton Exchange Building – we truly felt this event would become a lasting holiday tradition each year for families across Central New York.

The Shirtz Family, at last year's event, stepped outside to watch the tree lighting in Clinton Square. Left to right, Isla Baracco, Chuck Baracco, Lindsey Baracco, Marilou Francisco, Dean Francisco, Eric Francisco, Margaret Shirtz, Juliana Francisco, and Rick Shirtz. Photo by Jason Caruso

With the continued support of Clear Channel Media + Entertainment and our community partners, it is our pleasure to announce the 2nd Annual Stories of the Season has been scheduled for Friday, November 28th, a Family Gathering in the Clinton Exchange Building on the same night as the City of Syracuse Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. We are also thrilled to share that Rick Shirtz, his wife, Margaret, and their Family has agreed to be our Honorary Co-Chairs.

Rick is the Regional President of NBT Bank, which has also agreed to be a leadership sponsor of our event. Margaret and their daughters (Marilou Francisco and Lindsey Baracco) are devoted educators, all of them working in our local school districts for many years. Mark your calendars and stay tuned for more details to come!

Local Foundations, CenterState CEO Launch $1 Million Workforce Initiative and Syracuse Established as a National Fund for Workforce Solutions 'Partner Community'

Over the next three years, local foundations will invest nearly $1 million to seed a unique workforce development initiative to create job opportunities and career pathways for low-income residents in the greater Syracuse community. The initiative, known as "Work Train," is dedicated to helping employers in target industries address their employment needs, and enables them to actively develop workforce solutions that align with community partners' resources. Work Train will also engage local training and education partners and other community services to mobilize and fill employment gaps. Work Train's "dual client" model will foster positive outcomes for both low-income workers and employers.

Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy speaks at The Nottingham in DeWitt about a new jobs program funded by local foundations and New York state. Photo by Teri Weaver)

In launching Work Train, local foundations and other partners have established Syracuse as a National Fund for Workforce Solutions "Partner Community." The National Fund brings together a network of national and local funders to support employer-driven workforce initiatives that help low-wage jobseekers obtain career opportunities. This partnership allows Work Train to access resources and technical assistance from National Fund expert staff; share best practices and network with other partner sites; and be eligible for philanthropic and federal funds that come to the National Fund. Learn more »

Attendance Counts the First Day and Every Day!

Back to school is right around the corner and the time is right to start preparing our children for the classroom. One of the ways to do this is by starting the school year off on the right foot by attending every day. The Literacy Coalition and our community partners recognize that good attendance is essential to academic success. But far too many students are at risk academically because they are chronically absent. Chronic absence is described as missing 10 percent of the school year — or just 2-3 days every month — for any reason, excused or unexcused.

Attendance Awareness Month

Latest research from the Baltimore Education Research Consortium, Why September Matters: Improving Student Attendance, shows that absenteeism in the first month of school can predict poor attendance patterns throughout the year, providing an early warning sign for parents and educators to intervene and put students back on track. "This matters to all of us, not just those with school-age children," Virginia Carmody, Executive Director of the Literacy Coalition said. "When our schools graduate more students, on time, our communities and our economy are stronger because we have more people who are prepared for the workplace and in our community's civic life."

In partnership with the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading & Attendance Works, we've been promoting the use of many of their resources for monitoring, understanding and addressing chronic absence, beginning in the early grades. In celebration of Attendance Awareness Month in September, our local PEACE, Inc., Head Start/Early Head Start has also developed quite an exciting program for their families and we'll be assisting them. Learn more and help us spread the word »

Mayor, County Executive and Syracuse School Superintendent to Host Gala for Say Yes to Education

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie A. Miner, Onondaga County Executive Joanne M. Mahoney, and Superintendent of Schools Sharon L. Contreras announced that they will be sponsoring a gala fundraiser on Friday, Sept. 5th at the Landmark Theatre to support the Say Yes to Education Foundation Endowment which provides scholarships to Syracuse City School District students.

"When our community agreed to partner with Say Yes to Education, we made a commitment to kids that if they did their part we would do ours," said Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney. "The time has come for us to step up and fully fund the scholarship endowment to make sure that happens. I am pleased to be able to host this event with the Mayor and the Superintendent and I encourage everyone to come out and support our school children."

College diplomas decorate a classroom door at McKinley Brighton Elementary School, symbolizing the college hopes of students. Community leaders are raising money for the college fund of Say Yes To Education. Photo by Dick Blume

Reservations can be made by contacting the Central New York Community Foundation at 315-422-9538 or by going to www.sayyesbenefitevent.eventbrite.com. All contributions are tax deductible and eligible for matching dollars from SRC, Inc. 100% of ticket sales benefit the Say Yes Endowment Fund. Learn more »

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