Klim Center: Helping people learn

Program study shows increase in test scores

At the end of a three-year study by Le Moyne College, Mike Moracco, the director of People in Action, found vindication for his hard work.

People In Action is part of the DeWitt Parks and Recreation Department in the Springfield Garden Apartments, 76 Caton Drive, DeWitt, that provides pre-school, adult literacy, job training, after-school programs, health workshops and a food pantry to the community.

Over a three-year period, Professor Frank Ridzi from LeMoyne College conducted a study to see the effects of People in Action on its participants in the after-school program. Three groups were compared: children who live at Springfield Garden and use the program, children who live at Springfield Garden and do not use the program, and the general student population in the Jamesville-DeWitt district. The students were compared on the basis of scores in English, math, science and reading skills when available.

"What the study showed was in most areas there was an increase on their test scores and performance in schools for those children that are in our program," said Moracco. "It reassured us that what we were trying to do was making a difference."

In fact the results were quite conclusive. Students who attended People in Action were on par in test scores with the average in the J-D district whereas the students who live in Springfield Garden and do not use the program were below in different specific areas, according to Moracco.

In 1986, when a fire burned down a building in the Springfield Garden complex, four families were left with out a home or clothing. Out of the fire, People in Action was born. The group came together from people in the community to support the families and provide them with basic needs. What started as a help group grew in to a comprehensive program for the community.

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