Roots And Wings, Delray Nonprofit Focused On Schools, To Expand This School Year

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Staff report

Delray Beach-based nonprofit Roots and Wings will visit more classrooms this school year.

The nonprofit has two initiatives, one that rewards teachers for their efforts in the classroom and another that helps students improve their reading skills.

Both the Above and Beyond Awards that recognize teachers, who were nominated by their colleagues, and Project UpLift, which allows students to work on reading after school, will pop up at new locations this school year.

“Every Title 1 school needs the reading program,” Roots and Wings founder Ted Hoskinson said.

Last year, the program was offered at Orchard View and Pine Grove Elementary schools.

This year, Project UpLift will be added to Banyan Creek Elementary and Plumosa School of the Arts.

Hoskinson said, the results from last year’s program indicate that 88 percent of the Project UpLift students at Pine Grove Elementary passed the FSA Test in 3rd grade and 56 percent of UpLift students met their grade level expectations (at least a level 3).

When compared to students not in the UpLift program, the UpLift student outcomes show significantly stronger growth. Only 52 percent of students not in the program passed the FSA test in 3rd grade, and only 31 percent achieved proficiency by meeting grade level expectations.

Results at Orchard View Elementary  indicated that 78 percent of 3rd graders in the UpLift program passed the FSA reading test compared to 67 percent of students not in the program. Seventy five percent of 2nd graders in the program achieved their growth goal of one year in reading proficiency while only 43 percent of those not in the program achieved that important one year of growth.

Hoskinson said it costs about $20,000 to onboard a new school. Roots and Wings funds the cost of the program. The schools then typically hire the teachers to stay after school and teach the students who need help with reading the most.

“The teachers know the kids,” he said. “They know what they need.”

And when it comes to recognizing the teachers for their efforts in the classroom, the Above and Beyond Award ceremonies will continue to expand into new schools.

Elementary School teachers and staff from several Boca Raton and Boynton Beach public schools enjoyed Above and Beyond Award ceremonies this spring. Plans are to expand the program to eight schools in these two communities this coming fall, increasing the number of schools participating in the Above and Beyond Award program to 19.

Teachers are nominated by their peers and the school helps select a winner. Roots and Wings then surprises the teacher in front of their classroom with a gift certificate and other goodies. Elementary, middle and high school teachers are eligible for the awards.

“The most important thing is for them to know someone cares,” Hoskinson said of the teachers. “Great teachers inspire kids.”