2018-10-11 / News

Flushing Schools receives donation from United Way

By Ben Gagnon
810-452-2661 • bgagnon@mihomepaper.com

FLUSHING — Flushing Community Schools has received a generous donation to use toward the launch of an early education program, courtesy of the United Way of Genesee County.

During a Flushing Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Sept. 26, the United Way presented a check for $10,500 to FCS. The grant will be used toward the implementation of the Raider Readiness Program, which will introduce new parents to the Flushing School District and prepare young children to become students.

Theresa Miles, principal of the Early Childhood Center (ECC), described the program as an attempt to reach beyond the boundaries of a school year.

“It’s important to have formal programs to support our newest learners, including babies and new children in the community,” she said. “Part of that (mission) requires that we educate parents on who we are, what we believe and what our priorities are.”

Through the Raider Readiness program, Miles and her staff plan to reach out to families with newborns and offer them personalized welcome packages containing pamphlets, book bags and Raider gear.

The kits will also include instructional materials for parents.

“We’re looking to include children’s books that can be read aloud, and materials that train parents on how to physically and intellectually engage with their babies,” Miles said. “Right away, a parent can become their child’s first teacher.”

When their children reach two or three-years-old, parents will then be given the chance to bring them to ECC to participate in on-site activities. Miles said this part of the program can help children to function in a group setting, while bringing parents from across the district together to support one another.

“Imagine the impact of children coming to ECC to start kindergarten and already recognizing me and our staff,” Miles said. “It would help them to not be intimidated by the process.”

Over the summer, Miles has been ordering materials and designing a template for Raider Readiness with the help of Andrew Schmidt, Flushing’s Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction. She hopes that the program will be ready to launch in January 2019 after the holidays.

Altogether, the United Way grant will pay for books, bags and clothing provided in the welcome packages.

“We’re humbled that the United Way chose our program and chose Flushing to be part of their giving,” Miles said. “It makes us very indebted to them and their donors.”

Swartz Creek Community Schools and Carman-Ainsworth Community Schools also received donations from the United Way during the Flushing Chamber event.

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