CAAG (Catalyst for Achievement Action Group)

Catalyst

CAAG’s purpose is to support city public school children’s achievement and help ensure children at risk have a fighting chance of making a success of their lives.

Current activities:
* As CAAG’s major project, WCC provides a volunteer and funding commitment to a multi-sensory kindergarten tutoring program in two inner city schools to help children learn to read, write simple words, and comprehend simple stories and be prepared for first grade. It provides a good start for young children to learn to read by fourth grade — a strong predictor of their staying in school.

  • “Gatherings for good”:  two or three times a year the committee organizes a lunch for members and friends at Venice on Vine, a restaurant in Over-the-Rhine. People are asked to bring school supplies for Rothenberg students (August) and Christmas presents for the Contact Center to sell at a modest price. Members should watch for notices in the Bulletin and weekly update and attend if they are able.
  • Analysis of educational issues and recommendations to the Board for action (to support a levy, for example, or issue on the ballot).
  • Presentation of  forums on educational topics, often in collaboration with organizations

What committee members do:  Under the leadership of Linda Wihl, and making use of her literacy tutoring program, Making Sense of Language Arts, members serve as tutors and testers at Rothenberg Preparatory Academy and Winton Hills Academy. Members may also serve on a steering committee that meets during the year to plan, trouble shoot, and consider other projects.

After being trained (a commitment of a few hours annually), tutors use multi-sensory learning techniques like songs, touch, games, visualization of stories, and movement to help the children gain the ability to express themselves through language arts. Over the course of the school year, each tutor meets with the same child once a week for an hour of intense one on one interaction that includes learning sounds, letters and vocabulary words, and reading simple stories.  Tutors follow an easy-to-use lesson plan from the basic curriculum but adapted each week to meet their children’s learning styles and progress.

A field trip to Joseph-Beth Booksellers takes place in late spring. It offers children opportunity to visit a bookstore with rich resources, select a few books to take home, and eat at a restaurant.

Children eligible for the program are selected through the Kaufman Survey of Early Academic Skills administered to all kindergartners at the two schools by volunteer testers.

More information on the tutoring program at http://www.makingsenseoflanguagearts.com

How to get involved:  WCC members and friends interested in tutoring and to obtain more information:  Contact Linda Wihl

Achievements:
Concerned about the epidemic of violence in our city, the group hosted a series of “community conversations” between youth and neighborhood activists to create opportunities for exploring youth-adult relationships and for building community.

Most children have the capacity to learn.  However, many children lack expressive ability for a variety of reasons, including those associated with poverty (lack of parental time to read and play with their children and funds to buy toys and books, etc.).  All of the children who enter our tutoring program begin with below-average language arts skills. Each year, 80-100% of the children have left the program with average or better language arts skills. The improvement in expressive ability and letter and word skills is significant, to very significant! Because literacy skills are often a determining factor in school and career success, the program changes their outcomes for a lifetime.

Other achievements:
* Held “Gatherings for good” two or three times a year.
* Analyzed educational issues and made recommendations for action.  Examples are public school levies and pending state action on bills.  Contact Sarah Gideonse for more information:
* Presented forums on educational topics, often in collaboration with organizations: programs presenting school board candidates, a panel on Cincinnati Public Schools community learning centers and a forum on Ohio charter schools.