Two educational institutions located on the same street in Reading, PA, have formed a partnership to advance learning at the elementary and college levels. Albright College and 13th & Union Elementary School are working together in innovative ways to improve teaching and learning in areas such as reading, math and science, and environmental education.

Funding from the Wyomissing Foundation has supported various aspects of the partnership, including the coordinator’s position, instructional initiatives and materials, and inter-institutional collaboration.

Dr. Osgood with students at streamThe ASPHALT (Attaining and Sustaining a Positive and Holistic Attitude for Learning) Forest Project focuses on improving science and language arts instruction at 13th and Union Elementary School. As part of the project, an area of the Albright College campus is being developed for use as an outdoor classroom for science education. A professor at Albright developed an outdoor science unit and instructed fifth-grade students when they visited the campus for a field trip. After collecting samples from a stream, the class went into the laboratory to observe organisms living in the water. Grant funds were also used to purchase books to support the science unit.

students in science laboratorySecond-graders, too, visited Albright for a science learning experience. Students toured a greenhouse and an organic garden, where they learned how things grow in both hydroponic and permaculture gardens. They constructed terrariums and received discovery guides so that they could continue their learning experience at home.

kindergarten students using iPads

Another component of the grant from the Wyomissing Foundation to the Partnership provided iPads to a kindergarten teacher for use by students during reading group and center time. Students quickly became adept at using the tablets for practice with reading and math. Data from standardized test results indicate more growth in learning by the class that used the iPads than by other kindergarten classes.

college student tutoring school student


Foundation support has enabled development of a Homework Center for Newcomers and English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) students in grades one through five at 13th & Union Elementary School. (“Newcomers” have come to this country with little or no skills in spoken and written English.) Grant monies funded a teacher to supervise the center three days a week during the school year. A mutually beneficial aspect of the center features Albright College students serving as volunteers to provide after-school homework help and tutoring to ESL and regular-education students.

Ready. Set. Read!Volunteers were the key behind another project supported by the grant. Twenty Albright students and one professor donated more than 300 hours volunteering as tutors for the Ready. Set. Read! program.

Ready. Set. Read!Students in second and third grades attended the sessions on a regular basis, suggesting that they enjoyed the one-on-one time spent with their tutors. Comments from their teachers indicated that the students advanced in their ability to read and comprehend.

art and garden field tripIn addition, because grant funds have allowed more Albright faculty to participate in the partnership, more opportunities for shared activities have been realized. For example, elementary school students have enjoyed a Children’s Literature Night, scholarships to the Summer Art Camp, visits to the Freedman Gallery and Gingrich Library, as well as science field trips.

“Funding from the Wyomissing Foundation has opened new doors of opportunity for Albright College and 13th and Union students alike, said Dorothea Miller, coordinator of the partnership. “Tutoring, classroom assistance, and mentoring are enhancing the lives of students on both sides of 13th Street,” she said.