The Harbor Lites (IL) Chapter was the recipient of The Links, Incorporated National Award Excellence in Programming: Best Practices-Services to Youth Integration, Closing the Achievement Gap in Lake County, on June 19, 2015.
The most significant educational problem in the U.S. is the achievement differences between African American, Hispanic Students and their white counterparts. This is true whether or not one is talking about suburban or urban school systems and low-or high-income families. There are many underlying theories and probable causes for the achievement gap between African American, Hispanics and Whites. More specifically the gap is reading achievement and motivation is an issue in the field of educational psychology and worthy of addressing. To present the findings and initial outcome of the collaborative program between a nonprofit organization and educational leaders from the three North Shore communities of Waukegan, Zion, and North Chicago, Illinois.
This program focuses on the disparity in academic scores on state education tests between African American (AA) and their counterparts in reading. The long range goal is to close the gap in academic achievement between minority and majority students in these three communities by engaging the communities in a program designed to improve the academic performance levels of African American and Hispanic students especially in the area of reading and writing. The process consists of a panel of experts who shared the characteristics of programs that included identifying educational leaders in each community, planning and implementing a public opportunity to begin dialogue on the disparities of the academic achievement in the three school districts and documenting issues noted by the community as the most important in resolving the disparities. As a result, a pilot program with Community Action Partnership of Lake County Early Childhood Education Program “Parents as Reading Partners” and local Libraries and School districts has been implemented.