United Way provides support to Blount county in many ways. Below is one example of helping those in need.
A Dream of a Summer Program for Students in Blount County
Every summer since 2017, Dreamcatchers has helped students fight summer learning loss. It’s a program of the Blount County Education Foundation (BCEF) and has a history of producing measurable gains in reading and math. During the summer of 2019, for example, Dreamcatchers students benefited from a six-month gain in reading and a 12-month gain in math. Students who have participated in all three years of the program have experienced a remarkable 11-month gain in reading and a 21-month gain in math!
Dreamcatchers has the power to provide life-changing support to students ensuring that every child learns at high levels and succeeds in school and beyond. Previous data indicates students thrive because the program creates a culture focused on student learning; provides targeted, systematic intervention to meet individual student needs; and builds time for enrichment into the day.
The program operates for six weeks during the summer break and serves 100 students, giving them the support and time for learning needed to reach their full academic, social and emotional development potential. Once students are identified, teachers will work with the instructional coaches to plan a curriculum/intervention based on results from diagnostic reports, end-of-year assessments and teacher recommendations. Students are grouped based on common academic needs to allow reading and math lessons to be more specific to their needs. Groups rotate so that everyone gets face-to-face time with a teacher for effective intervention. Students also have opportunities to explore meaningful enrichment options presented through hands-on activities that are tied into everyday world experiences. Activities centered on art, music, STEAM and field trips allow students to build on their talents and interests or learn new things to broaden their life experiences.
Dreamcatchers is just one of the programs and initiatives from the Blount County Education Foundation. Founded in 1998 with a mission to promote academic excellence in Blount County Schools, BCEF’s current projects also include: annual classroom grant resources awards; the summer library access hours and academic camps; STEAM initiative; recognition of the Teachers of the Year with a resource grant; supporting the district Spelling Bee, Scholar’s Bowl Program, Math Tournament, Youth Leadership Development Program and High School Ambassadors Program.