The Learning Lamp Programs a Win-Win for Children, Families, BusinessesPosted on January 15, 2020
Johnstown, PA (Jan. 13, 2020) –At The Learning Lamp, 91 cents of every dollar goes directly to support services to children, families and schools in the communities we serve. Formed in 2003 with one staff person and a goal to provide high quality, affordable tutoring to children in the Johnstown area whose parents lacked the resources to pay for help, The Learning Lamp now serves thousands of children and families across Pennsylvania. In its most recent tally, that amounted to 32,799 children and adults from 53 public school districts and 66 private schools and community organizations in 17 counties of Pennsylvania.
The Learning Lamp’s mission has remained virtually unchanged since its inception: to engage all children in the support they need to succeed. Within its primary service area of Cambria, Somerset and Bedford counties, the organization delivers an array of programs that include: one-to-one tutoring with tuition assistance for income-eligible families; before/after school programs including free drop-in programs in high poverty neighborhoods; portable classrooms aimed at building math and science skills; alternative education programs for at-risk students; evidence-based drug/alcohol prevention programs; online learning and credit recovery; SAT preparation; annual children’s book festival; educationally-focused child care; and literacy-based preschool programs with tuition assistance for families that qualify.
“As a single income home, every dollar counts,” shared Jennifer, the mom of a preschool student that qualified for tuition assistance at The Learning Lamp. “With the help of a scholarship, I know my child is receiving invaluable lessons that we otherwise would not be able to provide her.”
The Learning Lamp relies on the support of grants and donations from individuals and businesses to help offset the cost of tuition discounts and services provided for free. In the 2019-20 school year alone, the agency awarded $61,425 in tuition assistance to 39 children who may have qualified for publicly-funded preschool but who were unable to access those services or whose income fell just over the threshold but who still couldn’t afford the full cost of tuition.
The Learning Lamp is an approved scholarship organization through the state’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) Program. In addition to Pre-Kindergarten Scholarships for pre-k through EITC, business contributions in the form of K-12 (SO) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credits (OSTC) can help income-eligible families afford the cost of tuition for private school for children in grades K-12. The Learning Lamp distributed more than $30,000 in OSTC contributions to 53 income-eligible families in the Cambria-Somerset area in 2019. The program is a win-win for businesses and families alike.
“Marcus & Mack are proud to support The Learning Lamp. We believe that every child deserves a quality education. It’s also great to know we’re helping out right here in our own community,” said Robert Marcus, partner at Marcus & Mack.
The Learning Lamp also offers grant writing, communications support and project consulting for schools and other child-focused organizations. Its school-based division operating as Ignite Education Solutions manages substitute teachers for 18 school districts/educational entities in the tri-county area, serving a combined 1,600 teachers and 18,500 students with more than 250 active substitutes.
“The Learning Lamp’s substitute teacher program finished the first quarter of the school year strongly having filled over 3,636 absences,” explained Emily Yuhas, director of Ignite Education Solutions. “That means we are filling, on average, nine of every 10 sub requests for the schools we serve.”
Ignite also partners with 14 school districts to staff 38 often hard-to-fill, specialized staff positions such as assistant principals, licensed social workers, school psychologists, occupational therapists, English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers, Title 1 teachers, adult career coaches, confidential secretaries, math tutors, in-school suspension teachers, school nurses and teaching assistants. In addition, it works with schools to staff essential support positions for children with special needs, such as personal care and bus aides. The Learning Lamp and Ignite Education Solutions employ 864 seasonal, part- and full-time employees, making it one of the largest employers in Cambria County.
The Learning Lamp is a nonprofit organization with a mission to engage all children in the support they need to succeed. We deliver high quality programs that are affordable and accessible to families of all income levels. The Learning Lamp served 32,799 children and adults from 53 public school districts and 66 private schools and community organizations in 17 counties of Pennsylvania in 2018.
Our programs include: one-to-one tutoring; before/after school programs; portable classrooms aimed at building math and science skills; alternative education programs for at-risk students; evidence-based prevention programs; online learning and credit recovery; SAT preparation; educationally-focused child care; literacy-based preschool programs; and grant writing and project consulting for schools.