Our next CommUNITY Conversation is scheduled for Thursday, August 16th, from 4:00 to 5:30 PM at Brass Community School.
We need You: Your Knowledge. Your experiences. Your skills. YOU!
Join us for a conversation develop our CALL TO ACTION provide the most benefit to our families and children’s success.
This a free, casual gathering open to all Kenosha Community members. Questions? Contact Building Our Future More information and RSVP
Building Our Future’s newest network, Early Grade Reading, focuses specifically on third grade reading proficiency in Kenosha County. To those not intimately involved in education and social challenges, it may seem that third grade reading scores is randomly selected. It may also seem like third grade reading scores impact only elementary school teachers and not our wider community. However, research shows the huge implications this single data point can have on the wider economy, and dire third grade reading levels for some means ALL of us are held back from reaching our full potential.
A study commissioned by the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that one in six children who are not reading proficiently in third grade do not graduate from high school on time, which is a rate four times greater than proficient readers. It’s estimated that students who do not graduate from high school cost society an additional $260,000 in lost earnings, taxes, and productivity. They’re also more likely to be arrested or have a child while still a teenager, which both have additional financial and social costs. These costs trickle down to individual and corporate taxpayers.
Locally, third grade reading impacts the entire community. With Kenosha County being one of Wisconsin’s manufacturing hubs and a hotbed of investment, development, and innovation, the fact that, according to the Wisconsin state exam, only 45% of our third graders are reading proficiently could be a liability in future economic success. With unemployment at its lowest rate since 1999 at 3.9%, this leaves little room for employers to access new employees. Even though more people are moving to Kenosha County, this still leaves our current residents behind, particularly those families living in poverty. While 62% of third graders who are not economically disadvantaged are proficient readers, only 27% of students who are can read proficiently.
Imagine if 100% of students who are economically disadvantaged could read proficiently, and what this could do for their high school graduation rate, Kenosha County’s talent base, and ultimately, breaking the cycle of poverty. Imagine what benefits this would have for you as a taxpayer, as an employee or employer, and as a community member.
How You Can Help
Third grade reading levels don’t only improve with going to school. Anyone can be involved in this work. Consider:
We’re celebrating a work anniversary at Building Our Future! Eric Lequesne, Research and Evaluation Manager is celebrating his 1-year anniversary!! Eric is responsible for collecting relevant data, translating that data into actionable information to drive systemic change toward success for every child, cradle to career. We are so proud to have him as part of our work family. We look forward to seeing all the great things we know he will accomplish in the upcoming years!
Established January 2017, the Building Our Future Leadership Table was formed to guide and advocate for the work of Building Our Future. In an effort to hear from different parts of the Kenosha County community, Building Our Future engaged families from the onset. Madison Zapata is one of the three high school representatives from this year’s Table, and is being recognized for her work both in Building Our Future and in school.
Madison was born and raised here in Kenosha, Wisconsin. She attended Somers Elementary, Bullen Middle, and just recently graduated from Harborside Academy.
“I got involved with the Leadership Table mainly because of my best friend Kyle. Kyle has autism and after being recognized for helping him everyday in our government class, my principal then asked me if I wanted to be a part of this organization.” She says that being a part of this group has helped her learn more about the communities within Kenosha County and recognize the work done by our partners.
“I didn’t know how much our kids needed the help that they deserve. What everyone deserves.” Madison wants students to have an equal opportunity for the education that they need to succeed as well as more inclusion of all students at school from all different backgrounds.
Madison will be attending University of Wisconsin - Green Bay in the fall majoring in history and hopes to one day become a museum curator.
Why Join the Leadership Table?
"I recommend more students to get involved with the leadership table because it can really open your eyes to what goes on in our community, and it can give high school students achance to help the community give successful paths to younger students."
For more information and how to get involved, visit our "Get Involved" webpage.
Established January 2017, the Building Our Future Leadership Table was formed to guide and advocate for the work of Building Our Future, which brings together all sectors in Kenosha County to improve student outcomes from cradle to career, High School students were engaged from the start of this work. With parents at their side, three parents and students took a step and joined the team.
Nathan Gonzales serves on this team and on the Executive Committee. Born in Jacksonville, North Carolina, Nathan moved to Kenosha when he was young. He attended Jane Vernon Elementary and went to Harborside Academy for both middle and high school.
Nathan accepted his principal’s offer to serve on the Leadership Table because he wants to take part in leading the community in a positive direction and make sure that student ideas are voiced and recognized. “Being part of the Leadership Table has helped me to see the passion the people of Kenosha have for our city, and allowed me to be a part of something bigger than myself. It’s helped me learn to stand up for what I believe in and how to work with others to gain the best level of accomplishment possible for all people.”
Through the Leadership Table, Nathan says that he has learned about the economic opportunities for Kenosha County, and that we as the people of Kenosha should be ready to jump in and embrace the change. He believes this will help our county be a place to thrive for all people from all different backgrounds. “I’ve also learned that many people in our city who have large titles genuinely are invested in uplifting Kenosha to be a bigger and better city. Being part of the Leadership Table has given me confidence to share my ideas and how it will benefit students of Kenosha.”
After high school, Nathan plans to attend Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, IL. He will be majoring in youth ministry or biblical studies in hopes of becoming a pastor in a church.
Why join the Leadership Table?
“We need youth to ensure our work is inclusive of all voices, as much of our work is focused on educational outcomes.”
For more information and how to get involved, go to http://www.buildingourfuturekc.org/get-involved.html