Education Initiative Focuses on Kids

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Mayor Sly James introduced a plan called Turn the Page at Monday's State of the City address. He's calling for a community wide effort to bring kids up to their reading grade level because education will lead to a better future, a better job and a better Kansas City.

James says the program is something that can be done in all schools across the metro. He's calling on Kansas Citians to get involved and volunteer or be a mentor for kids. Teacher Sarah Ostyn says it's important for kids to start learning and reading at a young age.

"To get on grade level it's important to start before school starts when they're younger," she said. "Even we start in the baby rooms with words and singing and letters and sounds."

Operation Breakthrough started a program six months ago to keep track of what kids are learning and how they're making progress.

"What teachers do then with that information is make lesson plans that are responsive to kids needs they work with children individually they identify how volunteers can support children in their learning," said Aileen Murphy-Swift.

The program's primary goal is getting all kids in Kansas City reading at grade level. It's a goal that the mayor says everyone should care about.

"The mayor sends out this cry and asking the community to become engaged I want the community to ask how can we help? How can we make a difference?" Swift said.

Operation Breakthrough has long used volunteers in its classrooms. Miss Ostyn started at Operation Breakthrough as a volunteer before being hired. She has her volunteers are invaluable. They work one on one with kids who need the extra attention.

Patricia Prine took her kids to Operation Breakthrough 20 years ago. Now that she's retired, she volunteers there everyday.

"They teach us as much as we teach them," Prine said.

The mayor says it's going to take everyone in order to Turn the Page for Kansas City kids. He says the education initiative is important for creating a workforce that will attract and keep businesses and having good schools will revitalize Kansas City's neighborhoods. He says this is really a program that the entire city should get behind.

To learn more about Turn the Page KC click here.

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