“I am a reader and a writer, I am an artist and a scientist, I am an athlete and a leader, I am a dancer and a singer,” begins the CORAL pledge. “I am a lifelong learner, I am a CORAL scholar.”
The inspirational oath, recited by participants of CORAL, sums up the year for dedicated K-8 students who continue to make strides in their learning journeys.
Communities Organizing Resources to Advance Learning (CORAL) is an expanded learning program of Catholic Charities that helps children improve their academic achievement through improved literacy and skills enrichment activities. In the 2015-2016 school year, 2,710 students registered in CORAL. Every day, for 180 days, at 23 school sites, children participated in afterschool programming, including literacy instruction, homework support, enrichment activities, and sports.
The annual academic year survey illustrated how CORAL builds students’ confidence and abilities to succeed in school. Among numerous highlights of the 2015-2016 year is the 100 Book Challenge, a personalized reading program where students read books for 60 minutes a day to ensure that they adopt independent reading routines. Eighty-two percent of students who attended at least three months of programming increased one reading level in the 100 Book Challenge.
According to the survey, 96% of students say that CORAL activities are fun, and 93% say they have many friends in the program. In open-ended responses, students indicate what they love most, with answers ranging from making art to improving their reading to helping CORAL teachers. Eighty-eight percent feel safe at CORAL, and when asked about the CORAL staff, an overwhelming 90% say they feel cared for and paid attention to, and that staff members want their students to go to college.
Students also expressed their appreciation for how the program has helped their families. “CORAL is important to me because my Mom works late, and I can get my homework done before she picks me up,” writes one CORAL participant.
Another writes, “After school is important to me because I really like going to CORAL, and to field trips, and have fun learning new things.”
To learn more about Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County’s CORAL program, please contact América G. Gomez, Program Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.