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We’re halfway through ALICE Awareness Week! Earlier this week, we looked at housing and child care and how issues related to these topics impact individuals and families living below the ALICE threshold. Today, we turn our focus to education. Access to quality education is essential for building a firm foundation for a child's future.
Need to catch up on the previous day's emails? Click the link for Monday's email about Housing and Tuesday's email about Child Care.
A quality education is the best predictor of professional and financial success in the U.S. The earliest years of a child’s education lay a critical foundation for later outcomes. Lack of quality preschool can impact a child’s performance in kindergarten and far beyond. This is especially true for children from low-income families, who tend to be 12 to 14 months behind their classmates in pre-literacy and language skills when they enter kindergarten.

Without quality K-12 education, students do not gain the important skills they need to advance to sustainable jobs. And without access to affordable higher education, students will incur considerable student debt and may even miss out on career advancement opportunities. Read more...
A child in a Pre-K classroom wearing a yellow sweatshirt waves at the camera
As with child care, families with children living below the ALICE threshold also face obstacles in accessing appropriate education beyond the early years. Children from low-income families are less prepared for kindergarten, more likely to repeat grades, less likely to graduate high school, less likely to finish college, all of which converge to create considerable obstacles to success in their careers.

There are significant gaps in achievement and opportunity for economically disadvantaged groups and populations of color, especially in K-12 education. If students overcome the odds and graduate from high school, the cost of higher education is often prohibitive. Read more...

Education is one of the best predictors of financial well-being in the U.S. Children from households with sufficient income to afford quality child care options benefit from improved academic performance, higher lifetime earnings, higher graduation rates, improved job stability and access for their parents, and better overall health. On the community level, this leads to decreased income disparities across the population and ultimately a stronger workforce and local economy. Read more...
Return on Investment. There is a significant return on investment for early childhood education. About $8.60 for every $1 spent.
In addition to learning, students enjoy going to school for many reasons. It provides an opportunity to see their friends, develop their social skills, engage in enrichment activities and interact with other caring adults in their life. For many kids, school also provides access to healthy meals and nutritious foods to nourish their bodies as well as their minds. While a majority of students have been engaged in virtual and distance learning during the pandemic, school meal programs have continued in Harrisonburg City and Rockingham County.

The largest portion of the City of Harrisonburg’s CARES Act funding allocated for nonprofits went to Horizons Learning Foundation. They received $102,700 to provide scholarships for 48 Harrisonburg City Public Schools students in grades kindergarten to seventh. The Boys and Girls Clubs of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County was also granted $10,000 for full-day child care as well as educational support and meals for 55 city public school students ages 5 to 12. Read more . . .
  • What role did education play in your life growing up? 

  • Was there a particular teacher or school employee who had a significant impact on your education?

  • Which doors have opened for you in life as a result of your education? 

  • Which doors might have been closed to you without the education you earned?
Make a plan to vote! In addition to casting a vote for the president as well as state and local officials, voters also have a say in school board members. There are three seats on Harrisonburg City School Board.  
While no school board seats are up for election in Rockingham County, there are town elections to be decided. 

In person voting is already underway in both the City and the County. Check out these websites to make sure you know how and where to vote, see a sample local ballot, and check your voter registration status.

Learn more about local nonprofits providing educational support to students in our community.  

  • Second Home’s mission is to ensure that working families have access to safe, affordable, quality child care with a focus on academic support. 

  • On the Road Collaborative seeks to empower youth by providing equal access to educational opportunities and hands-on career experiences.

  • Horizons Learning Foundation which includes Camp Horizons, and Horizon’s Edge Sports Campus. Horizon’s Enrichment Programs allow time and space for students to participate in virtual learning while connecting with peers and nature.  
Did you learn something? Have an insightful reflection? Were you inspired to take action? Feel free to forward this email on to someone you know who may be interested in reading. Folks can continue to Sign Up for more emails throughout the week.