Simpson Street Free Press Gains
Prestigious National Recognition
Press Release: Simpson Street Free Press (SSFP) is one of five organizations included in a soon-to-be released issue brief on literacy and after-school programs. The Afterschool Alliance on Tuesday announced SSFP has accepted an invitation to present at a national conference this spring. SSFP will present a workshop session at the Afterschool for All Challenge in Washington, D.C., March 8-11, 2015. The Afterschool Alliance is a national organization that conducts research and issues policy briefs based on that research. Their goal is to support student learning and bridge achievement gaps. The upcoming issue brief will address literacy and achievement gaps.
The announcement represents more national recognition for SSFP, a small organization based in south Madison. Among its many awards, SSFP was presented with a national “Coming Up Taller” award in 2008. At that time the President’s Commission for the Arts and Humanities cited SSFP for “pioneering new and innovative ways to apply integrated curriculum in after-school settings.”
In partnership with the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, the Afterschool Alliance recognizes afterschool programs that excel in offering literacy support to middle-school aged students. Together, these organizations provide annual funding to education programs across the nation that exhibit success improving literacy, including writing and reading.
The Afterschool Alliance and Dollar General are “extremely impressed with [the Free Press’] work supporting literacy during the after school hours,” Afterschool Alliance Director of Research Nikki Yamashiro said in a statement.
Yamashiro extended the invitation to SSFP staff to present a workshop focused on literacy and out-of-school time. The Afterschool for All Challenge, will take place in Washington D.C. and draw literacy program providers from across the country.
SSFP uses a rigorous, writing-based curriculum to engage young people during after-school hours. The organization publishes five separate student newspapers. Central to SSFP pedagogy is across the curriculum instructional practices. Lesson plans are designed to support in-school learning. Students encounter predictable connections to the school day. Young writers conduct research, use technology, write and read extensively. They learn transferable academic strategies. They acquire practical workplace skills. School grades and attendance are measured. SSFP students participate in civic discourse and influence their peers.
“Our approach is very practical,” says SSFP managing editor, Deidre Green. “We teach the most important and transferable skills – writing, reading, math, and work skills. Everything we do is based on research and driven by data and results. We help students be successful at school and become college-ready.”
SSFP staff members were featured presenters at a recent Department of Public Instruction conference in Appleton. That conference focused on 21st Century Community Learning Centers, a major supporter of after-school academic programs in Wisconsin. SSFP will also present at the `statewide NAACP conference on achievement gaps scheduled in May.
Simpson Street Free Press was recently awarded $22,000 from the Madison Community Foundation to increase the number of students enrolled in the La Prensa program. A “Wisconsin Idea” initiative, La Prensa seeks to increase students’ proficiency and literacy by producing a multi-lingual newspaper and publishing book reviews. Madison Community Foundation, which awards grants each fall to organizations that focus on underserved populations, applauded the impactful and innovative efforts of SSFP in addressing state-wide educational achievement gaps. Summit Credit Union, Nimick Forbesway Foundation, and CUNA Mutual Foundation also support the project.
Deidre Green: 213-3328
Jim Kramer: 575-0035
SSFP Newsroom: 223-0489
Never Hand in Your First Draft!