Commissioners Express Support for Literacy Program

Commissioners Bill Gaughan and Matt McGloin set their sights on another aspect of human services this week by attending, “Together We Rise,”  a forum on a literacy improvement program that centers the integration of structured literacy tactics and other learning resources for students in Lackawanna County.

Educators and school administrators from throughout the county, and state legislators and local elected officials participated in the forum at NEIU 19’s Archbald headquarters. Speakers emphasized the importance of early childhood education and detailed school resources that will target reading difficulty and help to resolve illiteracy throughout the community. Such initiatives included individualized reading plans, accessible dyslexia screenings within school districts and a concentration on literacy development near the crucial third-grade threshold. Many state officials expressed their support of the initiative, citing the importance of community resources and support in the fight against illiteracy.

“Literacy isn’t just decoding words on a page,” McGloin said. “It’s unlocking doors to incredible opportunities, it's fostering critical thinking, it's nurturing imagination.”

The panel comes in the wake of a momentous shift in Lackawanna County towards child welfare, when on May 9, Gaughan and McGloin announced the Family First Community Pathways program, which was conceived to combat the overflow of cases received by Youth and Family Services. The program is meant to provide a variety of services to keep families out of the welfare system by providing access to everything from mental health services, to parenting classes, to educational resources, including ELA and reading courses, unlocking the learning potential that 95% of all students have.

This new focus represents “the key” to breaking the cycles of generational poverty, unemployment and even the child-to-prison pathway, according to the Commissioners. The Literacy Committee and “Together We Rise” are their latest steps in their initiative to improve child and family life throughout Lackawanna County.

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