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Women in Training Participates in River Region United Way’s Bold Goal Coalition

Updated: Dec 23, 2021

The River Region Bold Goal Coalition, an initiative of the River Region United Way, held a Formation Institute on December 6, 2021, in Montgomery, Alabama, to propose solutions tothe root causes why many students struggle to read proficiently by the end of third grade. Claudia Mitchell, Women in Training, Inc. Vice President and Vice President of Montgomery Public Schools, joined Adeyela Bennett, WIT Chief Executive Officer, and 70 other representatives from educational, corporate and nonprofit community organizations at the Formation Institute. Leaders from all five River Region counties, Autauga, Elmore, Lowndes, Macon, and Montgomery participated.

“Research shows that a student’s ability to read by the end of the third grade is a strong predictor of that child’s future success,” said Ron Simmons, President and CEO of the River Region United Way. “Together, we will tackle the root causes that keep children in our communities from reading proficiently. We will drive systematic changes to help every child succeed.”

Below are the percentages of fourth grade students in Alabama’s River Region who are not proficient in reading:

Autauga County Schools: 41%

Elmore County Schools: 45%

Lowndes County Schools: 75%

Macon County Schools: 77%

Montgomery County Schools: 66%

The themes the Bold Goal Coalition identified to improve student success are as follows:

  • Early education and care

  • Family engagement and education

  • School attendance

  • Out-of-classroom learning and

  • Community partnerships

“WIT is specifically interested in working on school attendance in the River Region,” said Bennett. “Research from Always brand of sanitary pads and PLAN International show that one in four girls miss school because they cannot afford menstrual products. If a child is not attending school on a regular basis, then it is difficult for her to excel.”

Below are the percentages of students in Alabama’s River Region who missed 18 or more days of school prior to the COVID-19 pandemic:

Autauga County Schools: 13.69%

Elmore County: 10.89%

Lowndes County Schools: 6.98%

Macon County Schools: 6.64%

Montgomery County Schools: 11.95%

Pike Road (City) Schools: 5.53%

State of Alabama 11.17%

Poverty is one of the largest factors affecting student learning rates in Alabama. Research shows that students in the poorest counties oftentimes perform the lowest.

Below are the percentages of families living in poverty in Alabama’s River Region:

Autauga County: 12.1%

Elmore County: 11.4%

Lowndes County: 26.6%

Macon County: 29.3%

Montgomery County: 15.8%

“Together, we can turn these numbers around!” Bennett said. “It is crucial that we unify to End Poverty. PERIOD!

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