Bold Changes in Education

A strong education is the foundation for a better future.

At United Way of Greater Stark County, we know that when a child succeeds in school, we all win. Children who receive high-quality early education are more likely to graduate from high school, attend college, earn a higher income, and ultimately, work in a high-skill job.

Our Bold Goals in Education aim to ensure school readiness and school success in our community. Join the fight, and help us to ensure in a brighter future for generations to come.

 

Our Vision

We envision a community that supports and enables all students to reach age appropriate milestones leading to graduation and careers.

Community Challenges

Stark County Faces Ongoing Educational Challenges

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Ohio ranks 27th in total spending among the 45 states that fund preschool
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95 percent of brain development happens by the age of three, yet only 1.3 percent of Ohio’s budget is dedicated to young children
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8 in 10 Ohio 4-year-olds are not enrolled in a publicly funded preschool
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65 percent of low-income children enrolled in an early childhood education program graduate from high school
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10 percent of Stark County residents do not have a high school diploma – a rate that increases to nearly 15 percent in our urban areas
    • Ohio ranks 27th in total spending among the 45 states that fund preschool (Source: Education Commission of the States)
    • 95 percent of brain development happens by the age of three, yet only 1.3 percent of Ohio’s budget is dedicated to young children (Source: EarlyExperiences.org)
    • 8 in 10 Ohio 4-year-olds are not enrolled in a publicly funded preschool (Source: U.S. Department of Education)
    • 65 percent of low-income children enrolled in an early childhood education program graduate from high school (Source: Stark County Health Department)
    • 10 percent of Stark County residents do not have a high school diploma – a rate that increases to nearly 15 percent in our urban areas (Source: Center for Public Education)

    Our Goals

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    Kindergarten Readiness

    Sustainable progress toward 100 percent of eligible students being kindergarten ready

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    Graduation Rate

    Sustainable progress toward a 100 percent high school graduation rate

    Our Impact

    United Way of Greater Stark County invests $1.4 million in 22 educational programs that local education experts say are the key to long-term student success.

    Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids™ (SPARK) is an early childhood education program funded by our organization that has demonstrated real results in helping kids become kindergarten ready. SPARK kids outperform their non-SPARK peers on the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) to a statistically significant degree.

    Through SPARK and our other funder partners, we can help boost student achievement in our area.

    see our funded partners
     

    Lucas’ Story

    Before Lucas began kindergarten, only his mother Nicole was able to interpret much of what he said. Teachers and others had difficulty understanding him. His mother enrolled him in SPARK to prepare for kindergarten. SPARK is one of the many education programs supported by United Way of Greater Stark County.

    With help from a SPARK Parent Partner and his preschool teacher, Lucas soon started working regularly with a SPARK speech pathologist. Over late spring and summer, he continually improved, and by the time he started his first day of kindergarten, he no longer needed speech services. In fact, he was having no trouble speaking with clarity.

    Besides improving his speech, the SPARK program helped Lucas learn his address, phone number, all the letters in the alphabet, write his full name and read sight words. Now in third grade, Lucas has tested in the top 4 percent of his class. He’s happy to show visitors his many 100 percent tests. His mother credits SPARK for much of his success.