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Since 1994, ASPIRE has helped low-income families break the cycles of poverty and illiteracy. ASPIRE prepares children for academic success by providing comprehensive, integrated literacy services for the entire family. All families participate in four program components: Adult Education (ESL or GED preparation), Early Childhood Education (infant through pre-school), Parenting Education (home-based and center-based), and daily Intergenerational Literacy Activities (in the child’s classroom).

ASPIRE also offers a family technology component, Tech Tots, wherein families receive computer training, a home computer, volunteer mentor support, IBM “¡TraduceloAhora!” translation software, and Internet service through generous support from the Dell Foundation, IBM, and Grande Communications.

“It was really an honor to win this award. For years we’ve known that our program changes lives; we’ve witnessed it first hand. It’s wonderful to have a broader recognition of the hard work that our families accomplish in conjunction with our many partners and the support of AISD. ASPIRE children enter school truly prepared to succeed,” said Rob Patton, Senior Program Coordinator for ASPIRE.

A recent comprehensive longitudinal study demonstrated the impact of ASPIRE’s services on children as they enter elementary school. The study analyzed school district performance data for ASPIRE children and a group of matched comparison children. The data indicate that ASPIRE children academically outperform their peers years after having left the program.

Tests of ASPIRE children met grade-level standards at higher rates than tests of comparison children. The overall difference was a 16% higher passing rate for ASPIRE children than for comparison children. The differences were particularly notable on the Mathematics portion of the TAKS in the 3rd and 4th grades with ASPIRE children passing at a rate 34% higher than their peers. Program effects were measurable within a year of participation in ASPIRE.

With any level of improvements in home environment, parent involvement, and adult education, ASPIRE children exceeded the passing rates of comparison children. Tests of children in families where parents were involved in their children’s classrooms for over two years showed a 92% TAKS passing rate. Parental achievement in the adult education classes also correlated to child academic success. Children in families where the parents advanced three or more adult education functioning levels had a 100% TAKS passing rate.

Family literacy complements Communities In Schools’ school-based services for Pre-K through 12th graders by providing very young children and their parents with educational and parenting services that ensure that children enter school ready to learn. Children who participate in ASPIRE are highly unlikely to require the services of CIS as they progress through school.

With the impressive and long-term success of the ASPIRE model, Communities In Schools has expanded its family literacy and parent involvement initiatives at multiple elementary schools in Central Texas. ASPIRE is funded with support from the Silverton Foundation, KDK-Harman Foundation, The First Lady’s Family Literacy Initiative, Dollar General, United Way Capital Area, Austin Community College, Child Inc., Austin ISD.


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