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A Fraternal Bond, an Enduring Priority: Public Schools Month 2019 in Review

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Nearly a century of support from Masons of California for public education, by the numbers

There may be no single better way to boost a child’s chances of educational success than by encouraging them, starting early, to read. Developing a love of reading and learning has been shown to improve test scores, keep students engaged in school, and raise their odds of attending college.

That’s why the California Masonic Foundation has made childhood literacy the cornerstone of its investment in public education, exemplified by its annual Public Schools Month, the most recent of which concluded at the end of April. Through partnerships with local community groups and schools, support for the national Raising A Reader book-sharing and family engagement program, and scholarships for underrepresented and first-in-family college applicants, the fraternity is continuing its long tradition of supporting children through education.

At the close of the Foundation’s 99th Public Schools Month, the results of that investment continue to impress.

Consider the numbers:

7: Total Public Schools Month events staged by California Masons at public elementary schools across the state this April, featuring speakers, student performances, and check presentations: Valley View Elementary School (Pleasanton), James Madison Elementary School (Santa Ana), Chavez Elementary School (San Diego), Sanchez Elementary School (San Francisco) Pleasant View Elementary School (Baldwin Park), Tierra Vista Elementary School (Oxnard) and Aptitud Community Academy (San Jose).  Each is one of our Raising A Reader schools.

42 percent: That’s how many more Hispanic students were able to read at grade level by first grade at schools participating in the Raising A Reader program than at schools without it, according to an Annie E. Casey Foundation study. Raising A Reader, one of the California Masonic Foundation’s closest partner organizations, provides age-appropriate and curated children’s books as a means of encouraging families to read together at the home.

60 percent: The number of low-income families in the United States with no age-appropriate books for children in the home.

75 percent: How many of Raising A Reader’s children are people of color nationally; 41 percent speak a language other than English at home and nearly 30 percent are children with special needs.

590: The number of elementary classrooms that have participated in the Raising A Reader program across 166 school in 41 California school districts—up from just 84 classrooms when the program first expanded into California’s public schools in 2012. Typically, these classrooms are among the lowest-performing state schools, where approximately 70 percent of students are on a free or reduced-price lunch plan.

$1,000: Amount given to each of five annual recipients of the California Masonic Foundation’s Teacher of the Year award.

$630,000: Total dollars in scholarships awarded to 90 first-generation college students heading to community colleges and state universities in 2019 through the California Masonic Foundation’s Investment in Success program. Taken together with other Masonic-affiliated organizations and local lodges, Masons award more than $1 million in scholarships to students annually.

202,000+: Total number of books in circulation to California elementary school students and their families through Raising A Reader since 2012. In all, more than 81,000 students have participated in the program.

$2.3 million: The total that the Masons of California have invested statewide in Raising A Reader since 2012.

Add your contribution to the Let’s Write the Future campaign, and help advance our fraternity’s commitment to public education.

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