WASHINGTON, D.C. (WLFI) - Lafayette area leaders hit the ground running in their first day in the nation's capital Wednesday.
The first stop was a presentation about a program that officials say is the first of its kind. And in many ways, the presentation was particularly unusual in Washington because it doesn't require or even ask for federal or state tax dollars.
Dan Klein is on location in Washington, D.C., this week, and he sat in on the meeting.
School corporations all around the country have programs aimed to help children read, both better and at earlier ages. But none do it quite like Tippecanoe County's Read to Succeed program, which aims to combine the best of business resources with the needs of schools, all without the help of those who work here on Capital Hill.
Within two hours of landing, it was all business.
"It's exciting, it really is," Read to Succeed Team Leader Gary Henriott said. "It's nice to be able to tell our story locally."
It's a story that is unique to the Lafayette area. Read to Succeed currently enlists more than 400 volunteers in nearly 200 classrooms in 11 elementary schools spread throughout each of Tippecanoe County's three school districts. The goal: for third graders to read at grade-level, which officials say is a prime indicator of success later in life.
"It's breaking new ground in general, to have organizations like Greater Lafayette Commerce, United Way and three school corporations," Henriott said. "It's unusual."
Taking notes, about a dozen representatives from various representatives and senators attended Wednesday's presentation. Not all were from Indiana.
While none were authorized to speak to News 18, they will report on what they learned to the legislative assistants for their respective congressmen.
"When we can make a presentation like this, we're one step farther than we were yesterday," Greater Lafayette Commerce CEO Joe Seaman said. "We already know the key to this one is; we're not asking for money. We're here to show what a community can do if they are committed to working together."
Tippecanoe School Corporation Superintendent Dr. Scott Hanback helped lead the presentation. He says among educators, there are no trade secrets.
"Because that's what this is really about: improving education (and) helping our kids unfold their full potential," Dr. Hanback said.
Whether that's Indiana's kids, or Michigan's or Florida's.
"I think it makes a significant difference, in the education community," Dr. Hanback said. "The networking possibilities are endless."
"You can replicate this. It's nothing that's hard to do," Henriott said. "It's a matter of having motivation and people buy into it and have the vision of getting it done.
And perhaps they got the vision Wednesday. Next up for Read to Succeed: the planned expansion into the remaining eight elementary schools by the fall of 2014.
Also, an effort is being pushed to help parents so that each of the county's 2,000 kindergarteners are ready for the first day of school.
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