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Kindergarten Readiness Collaborative to Merge with The Learning Alliance

The Learning Alliance (TLA) today announced a merger with the Kindergarten Readiness Collaborative (KRC) effective April 1, 2020. Including KRC within the TLA organization will help establish a continuum of services for children from birth to eight years old in Indian River County.

“This merger will allow both organizations to better focus their combined resources in preparing children for school by uniting under a single umbrella,” said Ray Oglethorpe, Chair of TLA.

Walking toward literacy

In March, The Learning Alliance took steps to help children walk their way to literacy during the third annual SDIRC Moonshot Literacy Lane. The annual event supports the Moonshot Moment Literacy Movement’s goal of having 90 percent of Indian River County children reading on grade-level by third grade.

The walk promotes the importance of reading and spending time with family as they get some exercise and give their brains a workout.

Celebrating Dr. Seuss

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go. - Dr. Seuss

The boys and girls of Indian River County celebrated Dr. Seuss on March 2, in honor of his birthday at the Gifford Youth Achievement Center and in Fellsmere. The Learning Alliance hosted a party for Theodor Seuss Geisel, an American writer, and illustrator of popular children's books filled with nonsense words, playful rhymes, and unusual creatures that speak to the children and their imagination.


Moonshot Reading Captains March for a better future

The Learning Alliance’s Moonshot Moment Rocket joined floats and community groups walking in unity to honor the late Dr. Martine Luther King Jr. during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade in Gifford.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Committee of Indian River County hosted the annual event to keep Dr. King’s values alive.

Moonshot Big Read

Indian River County joined the world’s largest shared reading experience on Nov. 7, as more than 8,000 local children and adults joined more than two million others to read the same book as part of JumpStart’s 14th annual Read for the Record to highlight the importance of building early literacy and language skills. The county-wide event was coordinated by The Learning Alliance, the managing partner of the Moonshot Moment Literacy Movement.

Moonshot joins National Night Out

The Learning Alliance’s literacy fleet traveled around the county, spreading the “word” about the importance of reading – making stops at three Indian River County National Night Out events. The Moonshot Reading Rocket, Luna the Literacy RV and the Moonshot Bookmobile.

“National Night Out provides a forum for community partners to work hand-in-hand with local law enforcement,” said Marie O’Brien, TLA’s Manager of Moonshot Outreach. “Research has shown a correlation between low literacy and crime. By putting books into more children’s hands, we as a community can help to turn lives around.”

Connecting community through literacy

The Learning Alliance hosted Jenn Faber, state representative for the Florida Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and the Florida Children’s Council during a circuit of community engagements in Indian River County.

Faber spoke visited the Kindergarten Readiness Collaborative, Early Learning Coalition, and Kindergarten Readiness sites and held intimate discussions with early childhood providers, parents and community partners.

Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Pacesetter Honors Announced

The Learning Alliance among 32 communities recognized for work in supporting early school success.

Washington, D.C., July 3, 2019 — The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CGLR) announced today that 32 communities are Pacesetters for their work during 2018 to support early school success.

“Recognizing Pacesetters is our way of applauding and thanking the civic leaders, organizations and agencies that have joined forces to build brighter futures for children in their communities,” said Ralph Smith, managing director of CGLR. “We are learning with them and from them what it takes to move the needle and close the gap. Mobilized communities — like these Pacesetters — are essential to ensuring school success.”

The Dwight Stuart Youth Fund has awarded The Learning Alliance a $15,000 grant to help fund Literacy on the Lagoon.

The Dwight Stuart Youth Fund is a charitable trust founded in 2000 by Dwight Stuart, Senior. He believed that every child should have access to quality education programs and was specifically committed in helping those who are most underserved and underprivileged. The fund's philosophy promotes a healthy and vibrant educational system as the root of a prosperous society – economically, socially and collectively.

The fund’s mission aligns with The Learning Alliance's (TLA) mission for all children to read on grade-level by the end of the third grade. TLA's purpose is to improve literacy outcomes by the end of the third grade and create literate, compassionate, creative citizens who will improve our world.


Deep Dive into the Lagoon Through Literacy

Literacy took a “Deep Dive Into the Lagoon” last Saturday at the Indian River County Main Library. More than 150 children and their families were immersed in the lagoon during the collaborative Moonshot community event hosted by The Learning Alliance (TLA), S.E.A. A Difference, and the Indian River County (IRC) Library System.

Activities were based on the children’s book “Mermaid Meg and the Magic Lagoon” by Brevard County author Leslie Maloney.

The organizations that participated are helping students to “get their hands dirty, get their hands wet and learn about the creatures that are being impacted by the deterioration of the lagoon,” according to Debbi Arseneaux, TLA educational consultant and teaching artist. “That tracks back into reading, back into learning, so they want to know more.”

The Learning Alliance receives John's Island Community Service League grant.

The Learning Alliance is one of 38 agencies to receive a grant from the more than $1 million funding pool distributed this year during the John's Island Community Service League's Closing Luncheon at the John's Island Club.

The Learning Alliance received a $25,000 grant to use toward the Moonshot Academy summer program at Vero Beach Elementary School. The Learning Alliance is a vision driven, emergent learning organization dedicated to building innovative and collaborative solutions to help children learn to read. Our Moonshot Moment vision of 90 percent of all third graders reading on grade level motivates our work.

Read Across the Field

The 6th annual Read Across the Field event celebrated literacy in support of the Moonshot Moment goal which is for 90 percent of students can read on grade-level by the end of third grade. More than 600 Moonshot Readers gathered on the field of Sebastian River High School to form the Moonshot Rocket logo and launch Indian River County as the literacy capital of the nation.

Detective Christian Yanchula of the Forensic Services Unit of the Indian River County Sheriff's Office sent their new Crime Scene Investigation drone to capture the human rocket before releasing student-athletes from across the county to participate in the 30th annual Bill Wilson Elementary Track Meet, which included students from county elementary schools.


The Learning Alliance celebrates transforming lives through literacy.

The Learning Alliance (TLA) recently celebrated the community's efforts to transform lives through literacy during the nonprofit's 2019 Gala at the Vero Beach Museum of Art.

The museum overflowed with community leaders, concerned citizens, volunteers, teachers, school board members and administrators, all under the auspices of “making something beautiful” through literacy.

TLA embarked on an ambitious journey nine years ago to ensure that all children read on grade-level by the end of the third grade. Today, only 36 percent of third-graders can read proficiently at the national level, while in Indian River County 56 percent of our children are reading on grade level.

Indian River Club uses their Head, Heart & Hands to support literacy.

The Learning Alliance (TLA) received a $15,000 grant from Head, Heart & Hands, the funding arm of the Indian River Club.

The $15,000 grant directly funds a Third Grade Interventionist (3Gi) at Indian River Academy and supports TLA's mission to transform our community’s future and become a model for the nation by cultivating a culture where 90 percent of children read on grade level by the end of third grade.

This funding piggybacks on the relationship already developed between residents of Indian River Club and the Indian River Academy (IRA). Eighty residents regularly volunteer at IRA for more than 500 hours each month.

Grand Harbor Community Outreach Program funds The Learning Alliance 3GI.

It may have been April Fool's day, but the Grand Harbor Community Outreach Program (GHCOP) says literacy is no joking matter. To prove this, the philanthropic arm of the local community awarded The Learning Alliance a $10,000 grant to fund a Third Grade Interventionist (3GI) at Dodgertown Elementary School during their inaugural Breakfast of Champions at the Grand Harbor Golf Club.

“The Learning Alliance is grateful to the Grand Harbor Community Outreach Program for bringing us on to help fund our very successful Third Grade Interventionist program,” said Barbara Hammond, TLA CEO and co-founder. “I am so impressed with the depth of knowledge and passion that was exhibited by all the members of the evaluation committee and this promises to be a great relationship over time.”


The Learning Alliance among 2019 Quail Valley Charities grant recipients

The Learning Alliance (TLA) was one of 36 recipients of grant awards from Quail Valley Charities (QVC) this year. TLA received a $20,000 grant to fund the organization’s Moonshot Institute Workshops.

Each year Quail Valley Charities distributes funds to support the work of local nonprofits with missions centered around children and education. TLA was once again a beneficiary of a $20,000 grant from funds raised during Quail Valley Cup Charity Week.

The grant enables TLA to continue work in the nonprofit's mission to ensure that 90 percent of Indian River County children can read on grade-level by the end of the third-grade.

Family Literacy Festival

In the profound rhyming words of Dr. Seuss, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go,” The Learning Alliance partnered with the Living Hope Fellowship Church in Gifford to host the third annual Moonshot Family Literacy Festival at Dodgertown Elementary School to help children go “more places” through literacy.

The literacy celebration, inspired by Read Across America Day, featured a birthday party for Dr. Seuss, a Poetry Slam contest, pizza, prizes, games, books, books, books and more books.

The 'Wheels on the Bus' helps The Learning Alliance spread the word.

The Learning Alliance (TLA) said, “The bus stops here for literacy” as they joined forces with Rosewood Magnet School and The Senior Resource Association to hand out free books at the GoLine bus hub on 16th Street in January.

As passengers waited for their bus to arrive, they were able to sift through more than 400 books collected and donated by students from Rosewood Magnet School. Casandra Flores, Rosewood principal, and Lisa Ross, Rosewood literacy coach, were on hand to literally help spread the word.


Families turn the page on literacy during SDIRC Moonshot Literacy Lane.

Indian River County families went on a “literal” journey during the 2nd Annual SDIRC Moonshot Literacy Lane hosted by The Learning Alliance to support the Moonshot Moment Literacy Movement and promote the importance of reading.

Families gathered near The Learning Alliance's Moonshot Reading Rocket in the parking lot of the Indian River County Main Library where children created masterpieces celebrating their ish-ness under the guidance of Bridget Lyons, TLA Arts/Literacy Educator and Manager of the Reading Rocket.

Volunteers escorted families from business to business during the one-mile story walk using an innovative approach to get parents moving and kids reading while encouraging family engagement and modeling reading.

Feeding young minds with literacy

Once you learn to read, you will be forever free. – Frederick Douglass

The Moonshot Literacy Movement has heeded Douglass’ quote and taken the literacy show on the road for the holidays. For the second year The Learning Alliance (TLA) has given Santa a little help, feeding the growing minds of children in Fellsmere with a visit from the TLA Moonshot Moment Bookmobile.

Local Community Leaders 'Champion' Literacy

During the December Moonshot Community Action Network (MCAN) meeting, five local Champions – Dr. Fran Adams, Judi Miller, Ray Oglethorpe, Barry Tatem, and Chief Keith Touchberry – were honored for their efforts to ensure 90 percent of Indian River County students are reading on grade level by the third grade.

Each year The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading [a nationwide collaborative created to ensure that more children in low-income families succeed in school] honors individuals who support early literacy. In 2018, 47 communities identified Champions - volunteers, educators, school and civic leaders and public officials - nominated for their support.

“Book Em” spreads the word

There was much to be thankful for Thanksgiving week as the Moonshot Moment Bookmobile made its way through the Gifford community handing out books from The Learning Alliance Mobile Library with the help of Indian River County Sheriff's deputies.

In an effort to put books in the hands of children while making connections, The Learning Alliance and the Sheriff's Office formed a literacy partnership to promote reading through “Book Em: A new take on getting booked by law enforcement” in support of The Alliance's Moonshot Moment Goal to have 90 percent of Indian River County children reading on grade level by the third grade.

Moonshot Tour of Gratitude

Community members visited Fellsmere Elementary during the Moonshot Tour of Gratitude in November, giving Moonshot Moment supporters a firsthand look at the work being accomplished through the collaborative efforts of The Learning Alliance, Moonshot Community Action Network and the school district.

Moonshot Community Action Network Summit

Nearly 200 community leaders gathered for the triennial Moonshot Community Action Network (MCAN) Summit on Oct. 31 at the First Presbyterian Church in Vero Beach.

The collective spent the morning engaged in discussions focusing on the imperative: What does it take for Indian River County's community leaders to operate as a high performing team such that we lead the way, are stronger together, inspired and unstoppable in taking a stand for our children and thereby fueling our community's economic vitality?

“I am the proud mom of two sons who are in college now; but when they were in kindergarten, they were failing kindergarten. The teacher didn't know why and I didn't know why,” explained Barbara Hammond The Learning Alliance (TLA) co-founder and CEO. “The agony and the ecstasy of being a parent started this journey.”

IRC’s Moonshot Community Action Network Participates in National Literacy Events

The Learning Alliance Coordinated “JumpStart Read for the Record” and 18th annual “Lights on Afterschool Rally for our Moonshot Community.

The Learning Alliance (TLA) helped shine a light on the importance of literacy afterschool programs by organizing the “JumpStart Read for the Record” and 18th annual “Lights on Afterschool Rally” on Oct. 25 to celebrate children and reading and to support the Moonshot Moment Goal of having 90 percent of all students reading on grade level by the third grade.

An estimated 4,500 school-age children from around the county participated in activities at public elementary schools during the day. Moonshot Community Action Network partners included Dasie Hope Bridgewater Center in Wabasso; Indian River County Main Library; Buggy Bunch; Literacy Services of IRC; Big Brothers/Big Sisters of St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee; Kindergarten Readiness Collaborative; The Learning Alliance Moonshot Academy Afterschool Programs; Little Rising Stars Preschool; and Childcare Resources.

Some students were treated to VIP guest readers sharing the book “Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood,” while many also watched the first episode of “Moonshot Storytime” produced by The Learning Alliance and Karin Hammler, the School Disitrict’s District Reading/ELA Specialist. The new video series can be viewed here:

Moonshot Moment Reading Rocket returns

This summer The Learning Alliance’s (TLA) Moonshot Reading Rocket blasted off on a 2,700-mile journey for Grade-Level Reading Week in Philadelphia, Pa. The Moonshot Moment Literacy Movement Rocket Return Reception celebrated the literacy pilgrimage at the Brackett Library on the Indian River State College (IRSC) Mueller Center Campus.

The week-long conference focused on accelerating learning and strengthening connections among the network of communities seeking to collaborate and replicate the efforts of community coalitions to support early learning, early literacy and early school success.

Moonshot Moment Bookmobile on the move

Much like the crowd drawn out by the music from the neighborhood ice cream truck, children clamored for their chance to step into the Moonshot Moment Bookmobile as it rolled into the Dasie Hope Center for its first stop this summer.

Now in its third year of delivering literacy opportunities to where they’re needed most, The Learning Alliance Mobile Library made stops in Fellsmere, Gifford, Oslo and Wabasso each week to deliver the written word to hundreds of children.

Summer days should be filled with water balloon fights, days at the beach, melting popsicles and … reading. For many children, the last day of school means they won't have access to books until they return to school in August.

Teachers get 'schooled' at Moonshot Summer Teacher Institute

School may have been out for the summer but it was in session for a group of dedicated Indian River County teachers who chose to give up a week of their summer vacation to attend a week-long, literacy-intensive teacher institute hosted by The Learning Alliance (TLA).

The Moonshot Summer Teacher Institute offered a free professional development opportunity for elementary school teachers by immersing the educators in a model classroom experience. Featuring the inspirational story “Malala's Magic Pencil” by Malala Yousafzai, the teachers were exposed to research-based strategies. By providing authentic opportunities for applied learning, the teachers witnessed firsthand how to develop foundational literacy skills.

Dorian Bridges shares spoken word, rap poetry.

More than 400 pajama-clad, slipper-wearing children and their families gathered at the Heritage Center, Fellsmere Elementary School and the Sebastian Boys and Girls Club for the fifth annual Moonshot Moment Family Pajama Pizza (and a Movie) Party hosted by The Learning Alliance to celebrate National Summer Learning Day.

Literacy in Motion

Rising first-graders from Sebastian and Treasure Coast Elementary Schools needing a boost to make sure they are on grade-level when they start back to school this fall discovered that reading really is “out of this world.”

What helped “launch” these children into literacy success stories? Literacy in Motion (LIM), a hands-on, literature intensive program The Learning Alliance developed in collaboration with the Vero Beach Museum of Art and the School District of Indian River County to help stop the summer slide. According to recent studies, children can lose as much as two months of knowledge over the summer. The program also gives low-performing students the chance to catch up with their peers academically.

Literacy on the Lagoon

A group of rising third-graders from Sebastian and Treasure Coast Elementary schools dove into summer learning with the help of The Learning Alliance, the Environmental Learning Center (ELC) and the School District of Indian River County.

Students spent four weeks immersed in literacy as they explored the Indian River Lagoon through the Literacy on the Lagoon (LOL) program, a collaborative program developed to stop the summer slide. Studies show that children lose two or more months of grade-level equivalency during the summer.

April 2018 Recap

Highlights from TLA's work in April 2018 can be viewed here.

Changing the world one story at a time.

The Learning Alliance told a crowd of educators, volunteers, community leaders and philanthropists a story during the nonprofit's annual gala at the Vero Beach Museum of Art recently -- the story of how “The Power of the Community's Moonshot Story to Change the World” is unfolding right here in Indian River County through the collaborative efforts of literacy proponents.

As guests entered the museum, they were greeted by storybook characters from the Indian River Charter High School Theater Department. Dorothy and the Scarecrow pointed the way to “the Yellow Brick Road;” Alice and the Mad Hatter ushered attendees along so they wouldn't be “late for a very important date,” and Mary Poppins offered up “a spoonful of sugar.”

Moonshot Moment Family Literacy Festival

There was a whole lotta reading going on at Gifford Middle School during the 2nd Annual Moonshot Moment Family Literacy Festival, a free event to celebrate and promote literacy and the joy of reading.

In the true spirit of community, Moonshot Community Action Network members, local churches, and nonprofits teamed up with The Learning Alliance to celebrate literacy and support the community’s goal for 90 percent of all students to be reading on or above grade-level by the third grade.

Families spent the day immersed in hands-on reading activities for children ranging in age from pre-kindergarten through middle school. According to event coordinator Michele Holiday, the key, was to expose parents to activities they could do at home with their children in minutes instead of hours. “A lot of parents don't have the knowledge to help prepare their children to learn to read. We wanted to equip our parents with activities that they could incorporate at home.”

March 2018 Recap

Highlights summarizing TLA's work in March 2018 can be viewed here.

February 2018 Recap

Highlights of TLA's work in February 2018 are available here.

January 2018 Recap

View highlights of TLA's work in January 2018 here.

October 2017: TLA eNewsletter

The Learning Alliance's eNewsletter recapping work done in October 2017 may be viewed here.

September 2017: The Learning Alliance eNewsletter

Click here to view The Learning Alliance's eNewsletter recapping work done in September, 2017.

September 2017: The Learning Alliance thanks Indian River County Children’s Services Advisory Committee for $100,000 Grant to provide afterschool and summer programs for struggling students

The Learning Alliance thanks Indian River County Children’s Services Advisory Committee for $100,000 Grant to provide afterschool and summer programs for struggling students

August 2017: The Learning Alliance eNewsletter

The August eNewsletter may be viewed here.

July 2017: The Learning Alliance eNewsletter

The Learning Alliance eNewsletter Spotlight on July Recap is available here

The Learning Alliance Donates thirteen $1,000 Classroom Improvement Scholarships to School District of Indian River County Teachers

The Learning Alliance (TLA) awarded thirteen $1,000 scholarships to local School District of Indian River County teachers for classroom improvements that aligned with strategic learning goals they had established for their classrooms after participating in a year long collaborative learning cohort.  In appreciation for their hard work, teachers received the funding to redesign their classrooms to better meet the learning needs of students.

June 2017:  TLA Spotlight on the Moonshot Moment eNewsletter

The June eNewsletter contains highlights of The Learning Alliance's Moonshot Moment work!  

TLA Launches the Moonshot Moment Bookmobile

The Learning Alliance and the School District of Indian River County have once again partnered together to bring the Moonshot Moment Bookmobile into the community, delivering free books during the summer of 2017.  

Patrick Eigendorff putting as friends look on

Vero Beach, Florida –On May 7th, Kid2Kid, conducted their Putt for Dough Fundraiser at Safari Golf and Games. The purpose of the fundraiser was to raise awareness about literacy and to encourage children and youth in Indian River County to read more.

TLA Annual Gala is an Evening Among the Stars

Over 250 Moonshot Moment Supporters enjoyed A Celestial Celebration at our 2017 annual gala dinner at the Vero Beach Museum of Art!

The Learning Alliance Thanks John’s Island Foundation for $50,000 Grant  to Build Moonshot Academy Libraries for Students and Educators!

Struggling readers in the elementary schools of the School District of Indian River County have benefited from the Moonshot Resource Libraries provided by the John’s Island Foundation $50,000 grant. 

TLA Hosts our third National Summer Learning Day Celebration for the Moonshot Moment

On July 14, 2016, we celebrated "national summer learning day" in Indian River County!  Here's a video that recaps the events:

The Learning Alliance Launches a Moonshot Moment Bookmobile to Stop the Summer Slide

We launched a Moonshot Moment bookmobile to "stop the summer slide!"  Our goal is to help every family have a home library with age-appropriate books.  View the event video here:

The Learning Alliance Thanks John's Island Foundation For Supporting Moonshot Academy Schools

The John’s Island Foundation has awarded a $50,000 grant to The Learning Alliance to support the Moonshot Academy elementary schools with tools that will aid them in providing improved literacy instruction. 

The Learning Alliance Thanks Quail Valley Charities For Supporting Teacher Professional Development  

Quail Valley Charities has funded a $20,000 grant to The Learning Alliance to support the continuation of The Learning Alliance Accelerated Professional Development programs.  

Smart Baby Ambassadors

The Moonshot Moment and Smart Baby Ambassadors will have a booth at the Unity in the Community event at Oslo Middle School on December 12, 2015.   Stop by our booth for free books for kids, and register to win some great kids toys that will help your child to be ready for kindergarten!

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The Learning Alliance
2066 14th Avenue
Suite 102
Vero Beach, FL 32960

P.O. Box 2647
Vero Beach, FL 32961



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