Borrego Sun - Since 1949

BASIC's Summer Reading Academy


Last updated 3/29/2016 at 2:53am

More than 50% of the 3rd grade students at Borrego Springs Elementary School fail the statewide proficiency exam in reading. The local school system, the administration and the teachers are dedicated to closing this learning gap but the challenge is substantial. In the Borrego Springs Unified School District, 89% of students are English Language Learners and/or living in poverty, proven challenges to success in school and life.

Reading proficiency by the end of third grade is a milestone on a child's path to high school graduation and later success because that is when he/she makes the transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn”. “A student who cannot read on grade level by 4th grade is four times more likely to drop out of high school than his or her proficiently reading peer. Add poverty to the mix, and a student is 13 times more likely to drop out.” (from the Spring Board Initiative report)

BASIC (Basic Assistance for Students in the Community a non-profit 501(c)3 organization based here in Borrego) proposes to replicate a proven summer reading program now in its eighth year in Indiana that has been effective in increasing literacy skills of 2nd and 3rd-graders. This Summer Reading Academy is targeted at those third and second grade children in Borrego Elementary School who need an extra “boost” to achieve grade level reading proficiency. It is a free voluntary 20 day intensive summer reading program: 7 hours daily; maximum of 10 students per class; 1 certified teacher and 1 learning aid for each class. The curriculum is intense, but varied, fun and effective. Classes will be held in small venues, not part of the school system. Student, teacher and parent feedback from the Indiana program and a similar one in Canada has been extremely positive and the metrics collected and posted to the Report Card show goals being met.

But this program is expensive; especially in the first year and because of our summer desert location. Recruiting faculty and providing them with housing assistance and modest living stipends will be challenging and add cost. In addition, all common barriers to a child attending and benefiting must be removed, such as providing daily transportation and meals and snacks. BASIC's budget projection is $78,750: $45,000 faculty and staff salaries and expense; $5,000 staff living support; $5,000 student breakfasts, lunches and snacks; $13,750 academic and classroom supplies; and $10,000 bus transportation. It is hoped that Academy shirts for students, book bags, medals, certificates and classroom venues would be secured through donations. August 8, 2016 is the chosen start date for students with 1 additional week in advance for teacher planning.

Will you help? BASIC continues to write grants and make proposals to local service and support groups. Generous donors have provided $7,500 to this point, but much more is needed. We know our community is made up of generous people so we believe we can obtain funding by May 1,, the critical last date to secure an Academy for this August.

If you want to do something that really matters, join us and provide support for the Summer Reading Academy right now. BASIC is committed to the parents and children of Borrego Springs to show them that if they successfully engage in school for 12 years and graduate they can have a positive future.

This is an ambitious project, but the path is clear because we will be replicating a successful model from Indiana. It takes a lot more money than we currently have and we don't have much time, but how can we deny this benefit to our Borrego kids?

Send donations to BASIC, a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization at PO Box 1914, Borrego Springs, CA 92004. For additional information call 517 617 1051 or see our website

And thanks!

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