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Struggling readers get a boost from Columbia Gas of Kentucky

Oct 04, 2017

Columbia Gas of Kentucky and the Partnership for Successful Schools are working together to support elementary readers across the state by expanding the reach of One to One: Practicing Reading with Students. Alongside financial support that makes expansion possible, Columbia Gas is challenging other employers to contribute and get involved.

“When employers take an active role in education, they make the greatest possible investment in their communities and our economy,” said Columbia Gas of Kentucky President Herbert A. Miller, Jr. “The boost that One to One gives students can make a significant difference throughout their school years and into their adult lives as they become part of the workforce.”

Central Kentucky schools with One to One coaches include William Wells Brown, Booker T. Washington and Mary Todd Elementary. Thanks to funding from Columbia Gas, Yates, Cardinal Valley and other schools across the state will soon have the opportunity to implement One to One.

One to One recruits and trains volunteers to help produce positive, measureable results in struggling elementary readers. Literacy coaches, required to complete six hours of training, practice individually with students 35 minutes per week in a simple format that emphasizes reading, writing and basic skill building. This dedicated time with students motivates them to read well and builds a foundation for success by helping renew confidence and pride.

Data from Kentucky school sites indicates that the majority of One to One students make significant academic progress in fall, winter and spring testing modules. Teachers select the students who need help.

Veda Stewart, principal of Booker T. Washington Elementary School offered, “One to One is more than just a reading program - it is an investment of time that builds relationships and supports academic success. I am very protective with instructional time, but I know when a One to One mentor shows up they are well trained and will utilize every minute building skills and fluency. My students look forward to their One to One mentor coming each week. Their record of consistency, the level of quality training and their spirit of caring make them an exceptional community partner.”

The One to One approach stems from research on how children learn, instills best practice coaching techniques and offers specific guidance on how to help students practice reading. The idea for One to One was born when John Hall, CEO of Ashland, Inc., wanted employees to have the opportunity be involved in schools. He enlisted the Partnership for Successful Schools whose team in turn worked with teachers, the University of Kentucky’s Collaborative for Literacy Development and the National Center for Family Literacy in Louisville. Carolyn Witt Jones, president of the Partnership for Successful Schools, guided One to One’s development and leads its coaching sessions.

Columbia Gas challenges other employers in its 30-county service area to get involved with One to One through funding and volunteer support. “We’re excited about supporting a program that produces results and we look forward to other employers joining us in this effort,” Miller said.