Kids get a head start with Project Impact’s summer programs

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- A celebration for parents and children held the first week of August at Smith Farm Elementary in Winston-Salem has been weeks in the making.

“Today represents the culmination of a lot of hard work on the part of our students, our teachers and our program directors,” said Victoria Fulton, program manager for Project Impact.

The kids just wrapped up either Pathway to K or Pathway to One, summer programs that help rising kindergarteners and first graders prepare for school.

"Many of our kids come in and this is their first experience with school,” said Tiffany Fuller, a Pre-K teacher at Smith Farm Elementary. “It`s just amazing to see their progression from the first day of school to now and we get to celebrate that growth with their parents.”

The summer programs are part of Project Impact, a community initiative to provide additional operating funds to Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools to address critical student achievement gaps. The Winston-Salem Foundation provides both funding and administrative support.

“Third grade reading is the metric that everyone is focused on and we know that we can`t move that number without making smart, targeted investments in the early grades,” said Fulton.

More than 300 children participated over the summer and parents are noticing a difference.

“He`s realized what is important before starting school and what it`s about and that it is fun to learn, that it’s fun to read and write,” said Sarah Tuttle whose son Brayden is in the program.

Tuttle only wishes it would have been around when her older daughter started school.

“She is in the fourth grade now but she really struggled in kindergarten and had to repeat kindergarten,” Tuttle said. “I feel like this has made it where he possibly won`t have to repeat kindergarten himself seeing as he`s been able to get a head start.”

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