- May 6, 2015
Class was in session for Community Foundation staff and donors on Oct. 25. Well, sort of.
Community Foundation of Sarasota County President and CEO Roxie Jerde joined Vice Chair Nelle Miller and other board members and donors in reading to Gocio Elementary School second-graders. And they came bearing gifts.
Each student received a copy of “Flat Stanley’s Worldwide Adventures.” Students followed along in their books as readers recounted Flat Stanley’s harrowing adventures through the pyramids.
It was a welcome activity for students, but Gocio Elementary School Principal Steve Royce said the readers offered students more than simply entertainment.
“It allows for students to see someone besides their teacher, have models for proficient literacy and oral reading skills,” he said. “It’s great the Community Foundation comes in and reads for today, but it’s a lot deeper for us.”
The Community Foundation is Gocio’s primary partner in providing literacy programs and additional education opportunities.
“So students who are incoming kindergartners through second grade have a chance to come during the summer time to receive additional school, particularly in the area of reading,” Royce said.
Royce said the program is the best he has seen in his six years as a school administrator. Many Gocio students enter kindergarten already behind. Opportunities such as the Community Foundation’s literacy and summer-month programs help close those gaps.
“And it allows for us to continue to grow as a school,” Royce said.
Gocio jumped 71 points in last year's school grade report — a result Royce largely attributes to partners such as the Community Foundation.
“The Community Foundation is able to supply needs ... that we are not able to accomplish with our base funding,” he said.
As readers finished reading excerpts from “Flat Stanley’s Worldwide Adventures,” students eagerly thanked the visitors. Their collective gratitude echoed through the halls.
But for Royce, the readers left students with more than a new book.
“Having the folks coming in from outside exposes them to different meaningful adults and quality role models,” he said. “It exposes them to more of a college- and career-ready path and helps to open those opportunities for students where they can dream bigger.”