United Way outlines strategies for helping student performance in Douglas County

Efforts to help students succeed in school are getting an infusion of more than $400,000 from the United Way of Douglas County.

The organization this week revealed its action plans for education, one of three community goals developed during the past 18 months.

Specifically, the United Way plans to invest $405,648 for 2011-12 to help improve student performance in three categories: kindergarten readiness, reading and math proficiency for fifth-graders, and high school graduation rates.

Among specific initiatives to be financed by the education-targeted money from United Way:

• Hire two part-time academic coordinators for the Boys and Girls Club, to help support instructional assistance for the more than 1,300 students who attend after-school programs in Lawrence.

• Provide coaching for early-childhood educators, through the Douglas County Child Development Association, regarding social and emotional instruction for toddlers and preschoolers.

• Support for licensed child-care centers, in-home day cares and others to participate in a standardized rating system to help consumers identify quality operators.

The United Way is committing $405,648 of its anticipated $1.7 million campaign total toward the educational efforts, ones identified through a collaborative approach among United Way agencies and others.

The objective: Focus everyone’s efforts on shared outcomes, ones intended to help the area’s students succeed from preschool through high school.

“The money is targeting the goal,” said Erika Dvorske, president and CEO of the United Way of Douglas County.