Learning Community Center of South Omaha named a White House "Bright Spot"

September 15, 2015

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Successful program for South Omaha Latino families featured in national online catalog

Families taking classes at the Learning Community Center of South Omaha never expected any special recognition. Today, parents and staff find out the White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanics chose their community center, one of only 230 Bright Spot organizations nationwide.

The Washington D.C. announcement from the White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanics also includes publication in a national catalog, recognizing model programs and organizations working to close the achievement gap. 

In South Omaha, where Latino families struggle with increasing poverty and limited English proficiency, the Learning Community center is at capacity. With growing confidence, South Omaha parents like Edith Perez are happy to share their success. “After putting into practice at home what I learned at the Learning Community Center, my son Arian went up several reading levels in a short amount of time and now reads above level for his age,” Perez says.

Nearly 225 parents of preschool age children take seven hours of Family Learning classes and workshops weekly. Parents learn English and build new skills in the research-based program. With coaching from a team of educational navigators, parents quickly start to get involved in their local schools, communicate with teachers and set high expectations critical for children to attend college.

Coordinating Council Chair Lorraine Chang looks forward to sharing the success of South Omaha's Hispanic parents with Bright Spot organizations across the country. "Our parents demonstrate clearly how important a quality program can be in enabling them to support their child's education,” Chang says. “This is where the Learning Community sees tremendous potential to help more children and families across the metro area."

The Learning Community program, in partnership with OneWorld Community Health Centers, is on-track to reach even more families. Independent program evaluations confirm three consecutive years of demonstrated impact. Expansion continues this year in one of Nebraska’s largest elementary schools with parents attending classes in Gateway Elementary in the Omaha Public Schools district, as well as classes at the Educare of Omaha childcare center near Indian Hill Elementary.

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