I want to let you know about some changes to Energizing Education (EE) — changes that will preserve EE’s commitment to helping young students read proficiently while we adapt EE activities to reflect financial challenges.
The simple fact is, for all its success, EE has struggled to acquire the necessary funding to run the program. Resources expected from the State never materialized. While local businesses and foundations have stepped up — along with many volunteer mentors — it’s not enough to fill the gap. Fortunately, Grass Lake, Jackson Public Schools, Michigan Center, and Northwest school districts see the value in EE and are dedicating the required resources necessary to support the program next school year.
In addition, the Jackson County Intermediate School District will continue to contribute the literacy specialist who does mentor trainings, student testing, etc. Further, United Way will maintain some program coordination, such as planning for the Family Involvement Nights, mentor recruitment, data evaluation, ensuring the program is implemented with fidelity, and EE program setup for additional schools in future years.
Energizing Education will continue to stay focused on transforming young lives, engaging families and the community, and setting the stage for lifelong success for Jackson County students. At the same time, these changes and the ongoing funding struggles mean we have reduced EE staff from three individuals to one. This saddens us because the EE team is both skilled and passionate. Their absence will be keenly felt. We and every child who has benefitted from EE are deeply grateful for their amazing work and positive impact over the years.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns about the path forward. I look forward to your continued support as we equip Jackson County students to succeed for a lifetime.
Bethany Stutzman, MSW
Community Solutions Director
United Way of Jackson County