School Principals, Elected Officials and Education Experts Join Together to Discuss Program and Important Role Reading Proficiency Plays on the Path to Graduation
Today, Target Corp.®
(NYSE:TGT) announced 42 new schools
from across the country that will receive a new library as part of the 2011 Target School Library Makeover program. Education experts and advocates such as Alma Powell of the America’s Promise Alliance and Sir Ken Robinson, along with elected officials including, Congressman John Kline, Chairman of the Education and the Workforce Committee and Congressman Gene Green (TX-29), were invited to celebrate this announcement with the principals at the Library of Congress. Additionally, principals from among the 42 elementary schools participated in a Principal Summit, led by Ralph Smith of The Annie E. Casey Foundation
. The summit was designed to inspire school leaders, provide best practices for cultivating reading skills by using their new libraries, and explore how educators approach literacy strategies.
“In order to give our students a competitive advantage and ensure our country remains globally competitive, it is critical for us to invest in education,” said Congressman Kline, Chairman of the Education and the Workforce Committee. “By funding programs that promote reading, Target is doing its part to build a foundation for students and give them the tools to prepare them for college, a career and life. I am honored to join educators from across the country to commemorate the kick-off of the 2011 Target School Library Makeover season.”
The Target School Library Makeover program leverages Target’s world-class design and construction expertise, along with the products and services of local and national vendors, to transform elementary school libraries nationwide. Each of the 42 library makeovers will feature a complete renovation, which includes light construction, eco-friendly design elements and technology upgrades.
New furniture, carpet, shelves and 2,000 books will also be included in the new spaces, and every student and his or her siblings will receive seven new books to add to their own at-home collections.
shows that a child’s ability to read by the end of third grade is a pivotal point in his or her academic career. A recent study confirmed that children who cannot read proficiently by the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school than those who can,” said Ralph Smith, The Annie E. Casey Foundation. “With staggering statistics such as this, it is critical for organizations and individuals alike to work together to help build a nation of readers. Target’s commitment to this cause through programs such as Target School Library Makeovers is an example of how we can help students succeed by giving them the resources they need.”
The Target School Library Makeover program, a partnership with The Heart of America Foundation, is just one example of how Target is making an impact in local communities and helping to foster a love of reading among children nationwide. By designing inspiring spaces where students can learn, and putting more books into their hands, the company hopes to reinforce the important role reading plays in shaping a child’s future. Through programs like this one, Target is on track to reach a total of $1 billion in giving to education, with a focus on reading, by the end of 2015.
“Education is at the heart of our giving and we are compelled to do more to address the crisis in America and ensure our students are reaching critical milestones on the path to graduation, including the ability to read proficiently by the end of third grade,” said Laysha Ward, president of community relations, Target and Target Foundation. “For this reason, we are kicking off our 2011 Target School Library Makeover season by providing a platform where principals can learn from one another and discuss ways to improve reading proficiency rates in our country. By creating a community among educators, in addition to giving our students the tools and resources they need to succeed, we are hoping to extend the impact of our program and help create a positive change for our future leaders.”
Knowing that hunger greatly affects a child’s ability to learn and focus in the classroom, Target will also incorporate a Target Meals for MindsSM school-based food pantry site as part of each school’s renovation process. The food pantries will allow all students and families at each of the 42 schools to choose from a variety of food staples and fresh produce to take home.
“In partnering with Target, we are able to further leverage our resources to create an even larger impact on schools and students across the country,” said Angie Halamandaris, president and co-founder of The Heart of America Foundation. “By hosting this event at the Library of Congress and inviting all 42 principals as well as education leaders, Target is helping to bring national awareness to a critical issue – the importance of reading. We are honored to be a part of this program and have a helping hand in creating an inspiring space where students can foster a love of learning.”
The majority of the newly renovated library unveilings are scheduled to take place from August to November.
Minneapolis-based Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) serves guests at 1,755 stores in 49 states nationwide and at Target.com. In addition, the company operates a credit card segment that offers branded proprietary credit card products. Since 1946, Target has given 5 percent of its income through community grants and programs; today, that giving equals more than $3 million a week. For more information about Target’s commitment to corporate responsibility, visit Target.com/hereforgood