All Ages Read Together is now enrolling for new classes beginning September 2021 in Alexandria, Herndon, Leesburg, and Sterling! All classes will follow CDC guidelines and masks will be required for everyone.
AART is designed for children who fall in the gap between those who qualify for publicly funded programs, such as Head Start, and those families who cannot afford preschool.
This program will help get your child ready for kindergarten and is completely free. Children must be 4 or 5-years old and not enrolled in any other preschool program, Head Start, Step, or PreK.
Complete our interest form today to connect with an assistant!
All Ages Read Together is now enrolling preschool readiness classes for rising kindergarteners who have no preschool experience. This is specifically for families located in Leesburg or Sterling.
Priority will be given to students entering kindergarten in Fall 2021 at Sugarland, Sterling, and Leesburg Elementary.
When: June 29th – July 29th Days: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday Time: Morning or Afternoon, 2 hours each class
Please fill out our interest form to be contacted by one of our teachers. This program will help to get your child ready for kindergarten.
¡Todas las Edades Leen Juntas (All Ages Read Together: “AART”) ahora está inscribiendo clases de preparación preescolar para los estudiantes de kindergarten en ascenso que no tienen experiencia preescolar. Esto es específicamente para familias ubicadas en Leesburg o Sterling.
Se dará prioridad a los estudiantes que ingresen al jardín de infantes en el otoño de 2021 en las escuelas primarias Sugarland, Sterling y Leesburg.
Cuándo: 29 de junio – 29 de julio Días: martes, miércoles y jueves Hora: Mañana o Tarde, 2 horas cada clase.
Por favor complete nuestro formulario de interés para ser contactado por uno de nuestros maestros. Este programa ayudará a preparar a su hijo para el kindergarten.
The Dulles Greenway is hosting its inaugural Run the Greenway Race on May 1, 2021. This family-friendly event provides a socially distant convening opportunity and fundraising vehicle for All Ages Read Together and other participating Loudoun County, Virginia organizations.
“The Dulles Greenway is committed to serving the Loudoun community and we are honored to directly support the positive contributions that our charity partners are making in our local community during this difficult time,” said TRIP II CEO Renée N. Hamilton. “We are excited to welcome the region’s runners and their families to the first annual Run the Greenway race and we are pleased to be able to offer our nonprofit partners a powerful fundraising platform that will help them advance their important work.”
AART has registered a growing team of runners and walkers to join our team! You can join us by going to http://bit.ly/jointeamaart!
“AART is absolutely thrilled to be invited to participate in this inaugural event,” said AART Executive Director, Michelle Sullivan. “100% of the donations raised will go directly to our summer classes in Loudoun County, which is truly the last chance for children entering kindergarten to be prepared and ready to succeed. We are looking forward to seeing everyone who is walking or running for Team AART!”
The Run the Greenway race will start and finish at the Dulles Greenway’s Mainline Toll Plaza. Runners and walkers can choose a 5K or 10K distance, there will also be an 800-meter Kids Fun Run and a virtual race option. Race participants will join their community in celebrating the Dulles Greenway’s 25th anniversary of connecting Loudoun County to the Washington Metropolitan region.
We are honored and excited to announce that we have been chosen to participate in a special charitable giving campaign, sponsored and funded by Target. And you have a chance to help direct a portion of Target’s donation to us!
Now through June 30, 2021, vote for us through the Target Circle program to help determine how Target’s donation will be divvied up. Find out more about Target Circle here: www.target.com/circle
We’re asking our supporters to help us make the most of this incredible opportunity. Every vote counts to help us receive a portion of the available Target funds as we continue our mission to provide free preschool education to at-risk children in our community.
Don’t forget, as you earn more votes, you can keep voting multiple times during the campaign!
Thank you for your support, and we encourage you to share your support for us (and your thanks to Target!) on social media throughout the duration of the voting!
AART was on Local DVM and our new outdoor classes were featured as part of their #somethinggood segment! The reporter experienced the magic of our classes firsthand and interviewed some of our board and staff!
As we begin the preparations for restarting our in-person classes, we are putting together a series of health protocols to help keep our teaching staff, volunteers, and students safe.
Everyone in the classroom will be required to wear a mask, which brings a new set of challenges for our young learners.
“Being able to see the mouth is critical for early learners” shared Michelle Sullivan, Executive Director. “They need to see the shape our lips make when we speak sounds so they know the shape to make when they are speaking. We have been on the hunt for a creative solution and found a mask that was originally designed for deaf and hard of hearing individuals, which has see-through plastic around the mouth!”
AART is reaching out to our community to see if you may be interested in helping us by either creating the masks (we will provide the pattern) or donating to the materials fund.
You will be helping the littlest members in your community continue their learning in a safe environment!
Our very own Julie Brunson, Program Director, and Lara Major, Board Vice Chair, Class Sponsor, and Volunteer, are featured in a brand new video podcast called Speaking of Reading.
Speaking of Reading shares and promotes the benefits of reading to young children from infancy. Each video will share practical tips to engage young readers, ways to incorporate learning into everyday activities, and age-appropriate books to start reading to your children.
Reading fluency is one of the markers used to evaluate the likelihood of a child graduating from high school. If a child is not reading a basic level by the 3rd grade, they are 6-times more likely to not graduate.
Julie stated “I am excited to be a part of this amazing program and share the knowledge I have acquired in the classroom and through raising my three kids.”
Wow! We had quite an exciting GiveChoose campaign earlier this month. We exceeded our goal by raising $14,069.82!
The generosity of the GiveChoose donors allows our program to continue providing vital preschool programming to the most vulnerable children in your community and ensure they are ready for success in kindergarten and beyond.
Over the past few weeks, I have felt that everyone associated with this organization – staff, volunteers, board, and donors – have been “walking in our purpose.”
I am incredibly proud of our amazing team, who were able to quickly implement a 100% virtual program so our students could continue learning at home. I am in awe of the generosity of the community donors who have purchased items on our wishlist. And, most importantly, I am grateful that our AART family is healthy and safe.
(Herndon, VA) – Early childhood education is vital for every child to achieve success in their academic journey. It not accessible to everyone, however. Federally-funded preschool programs typically have long waitlists, and private preschools are often too expensive for lower-to-middle class families. Although Virginia delivers some preschool services, they are not universal or accessible for many families. Children entering kindergarten without preschool are often behind their peers both socially and academically.
All Ages Read Together (AART) is a 501(c)(3) dedicated to educating children in need with free preschool programs in their communities. AART envisions a future where all children, especially our most vulnerable, enter school prepared to learn. We strive for a future where public education includes universal access to preschool, making the need for AART obsolete.
AART is proud to announce a $5,000 matching gift challenge sponsored by REI Systems (http://reisystems.com) for their GiveChoose campaign. The money raised will be used to open two new summer classes for students needing critical early learning immediately before entering kindergarten.
“We are thrilled to partner with REI Systems! They have been a fantastic supporter of our mission and have actively participated in our classroom by supplying books, resources, and volunteers. They care deeply about their community and are investing in the youngest members.” Michelle Sullivan, Executive Director for AART.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a humbling experience for our organization. We have had to shift and adapt our program in the span of just a few short weeks – something that is not easy in the best of times.
AART’s educational model focuses on individualized learning – meeting students where they are. We do not use a standard curriculum, but we do have metrics that we measure improvement in key areas. This allows teachers to vary their teaching styles to better address the needs of their students, while still focusing on developing language/literacy, social classroom behavior, cognitive, and fine motor skills.
We are very focused on preserving the integrity of our program or “walking in our purpose”, while at the same time adapting to meet our new reality. This is a delicate balance that takes a team effort and I believe we have been extremely successful because of the creativity, support, and dedication of our entire teaching staff working with one purpose in mind – to educate each of our students to the best of their abilities in the home environment.
It has been one month since we suspended our in-person classes and a number of lessons have been learned from this pandemic. Today, I wanted to share with you the biggest lesson we’ve learned thus far: being responsive and agile is key to early success.
On March 12th, we suspended our classes in accordance with the cancellation of instruction at Loudoun County Public Schools. The very next day, our team was assembling academic activity packets for our students to continue learning at home.
Since that day, our teaching team has been employing technology solutions to connect with their students to continue the learning at home. You can see some of the fantastic examples in this post of what teachers are doing – everything from reading to their students to find creative ways to teach them about the five senses.
The success of our program is built on trust and establishing solid relationships with the children and families early on. Our students connect deeply with their classmates, teaching staff, and volunteers within the first few weeks of class. Because of these personal connections, the students are building their social and emotional skills as well as gaining a sense of independence and familiarity with a structured classroom environment.
Since this foundation was well-established with the current 2019-2020 class of students, the shift to a virtual, flexible model was much easier than we assumed. For our team, the agility came in the form of technology challenges with a digital divide experienced by most of our AART families. First, our teachers needed to establish that families had internet and wifi connectivity and second, they needed to confirm the students would have access to a device to access digital material. Once that was established, it was determined that almost all students would be using a borrowed cell phone for any digital connection to the teachers.
What proved to be successful was how the staff used this knowledge to reach our students. They piloted the use of apps that families could download and use for free, including Marco Polo and WhatsApp, to watch and create videos with their teacher. The teachers also discovered that most students do not have their own learning space equipped with supplies and resources to successfully work from home. This information was power and inspired creativity and thought.
So what does all this mean for our program moving forward? At this time, we are continuing to monitor the situation and have some tough decisions ahead. We intend to complete our current 2019-2020 school year program virtually, which means our students will not have their in-person graduation. As for our in-person summer classes – we must consider our students, staff, and volunteer’s health while at the same time balancing the feasibility of opening classes in our schools or
We know we need to take our lessons learned to finetune our program to respond to the anticipated need we expect to see in our 2020-2021 program as a second wave of job loss is currently unfolding in the United States. For now, all of us at AART will #KeepLearning as #COVIDCantStopGood.
Watch Ms. Sally read The Family Book by Todd Parr to her students.
We are pleased to announce that two new members have joined our Board of Directors. Lara Major and Debbie White are our newest board members.
Lara is an educational consultant with over 18 years of experience facilitating professional development of teachers in early literacy instruction. Prior to becoming a consultant, she was a classroom teacher and reading specialist in the Fairfax and Loudoun County Public Schools. Lara taught as an adjunct instructor for the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education and George Mason University. She serves on the Executive Advisory Council for James Madison University’s College of Education and is the acting Vice Rector of James Madison University. She is the chair of the Outreach Committee for 100 Women Strong. She is a trustee of the Willowcroft Foundation, which supports educational initiatives and medical research. Lara received her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education at James Madison University and her Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Virginia. Lara’s favorite activity is reading books with young children. She is grateful to have the opportunity to do this often with the wonderful students of All Ages Read Together!
Debbie White olds a Master of Science degree in School Guidance and Counseling from the Johns Hopkins University. Debbie received her undergraduate degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in Elementary Education. Debbie taught in an early education school before moving to Maryland to teach for Montgomery County Public Schools. She taught first and fourth grades during her 10 years there. In her community, Debbie has volunteered at Carderock Spring Elementary School, Stepping Stones Family Shelter, D.C. Village Shelter for Families, and the National Center for Children and Families. Through her family foundation, Debbie supports nonprofits that assist underserved communities access education, job training, and basic need safety nets.
Golfers teed up at Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club on May 9th in a tournament to benefit All Ages Read Together (AART). The tournament was the inspiration of AART board member Peter Knapp, who remarked, “Eight years ago we decided to have a golf tournament and, now, it has become an annual tradition. This year we raised over $15,000 for AART and we are grateful to everyone who participated for making it such a huge success.”
AART thanks all the 2019 sponsors, with specific recognition for Michael Capretti and Capretti Land, our exclusive Green Jacket sponsor, and Championship sponsors, Pactolus Private Wealth Management, 100WomenStrong, and The Peter Knapp Realty Group. These sponsorships provide the foundation for this golf tournament and drive golf revenue. AART’s Board Chair, Tamar Datan, noted, “We are so grateful to the devoted sponsors, players, and organizers of this very special event. Together, they have helped us raise funding to contribute towards one of our school year classes!”
This funding is critical as AART is the only organization that fills the gap for children who do not qualify for publicly funded programs, like Head Start, and whose families cannot afford private preschool. These children would fall behind in the current education system without AART’s help. One in five children in Northern Virginia begins kindergarten every year without any preschool exposure, leaving them an average of 20 months behind their peers.
Mark your calendars for another signature fundraiser for AART, the annual AART Horseshoe Hoedown. This year’s hoedown is on Saturday, October 26th and will include BBQ, live music and dancing, mechanical bull rides, horseshoe and corn hole tournaments, many artisan vendors, and children’s activities such as a bounce house and pumpkin decorating.
All Ages Read Together (AART) kicked off the 2019 AART Read-A-Thon at Cascades Library on Thursday, February 14 with Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chair Phyllis Randall, Supervisor Suzanne Volpe, and Supervisor Koran Saines as well as Loudoun County Library Director Chang Liu. Area leaders read to children who attend the Cascades Library AART class.
The Read-A-Thon is designed to raise funds for AART, which is dedicated to preparing young children for success in school by teaching them the skills they will need in kindergarten and beyond while cultivating an early love of reading and learning. AART fills the gap in the community by providing these classes to children who do not qualify for publicly funded programs yet come from low-income working families. There were 874 children who began kindergarten this school year in Loudoun County without any preschool experience. These children are approximately 20 months behind their peers. In our region, a family of four that earns $70,000 or less qualifies for affordable housing yet they do not all qualify for publicly funded preschool. AART has served hundreds of children in Loudoun and Fairfax counties since its inception in 2007.
Chair Phyllis Randall spearheaded a book drive with 50 faith leaders to coincide with the Read-A-Thon to collect books and monetary donations for AART classes. AART Executive Director, Michelle Sullivan said, “AART appreciates this outpouring of support and is so grateful for the impact it will directly have on the children.”
#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. Following Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this year’s #GivingTuesday will take place on November 27th and will kick off the giving season by inspiring people to collaborate and give back. Because of a generous supporter, all donations made to AART on Giving Tuesday will be matched up to $5,000. In addition, all donations made through our Facebook page will be matched by Facebook and Paypal.
Exciting news! July’s WTOP Charity of the Month/Federal News Radio Community Spotlight is reserved for All Ages Read Together! This promotion will give us unparalleled visibility across the DC, Maryland, and Virginia region.
AART is proud to have been chosen by the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce as an Outstanding Corporate Citizenship Awards nominee in the nonprofit category. The Northern Virginia Chamber’s Outstanding Corporate Citizenship Awards honor individuals, businesses and non-profits for above-and-beyond business leadership, employee engagement, and corporate social responsibility (CSR).
AART’s management staff attended the award ceremony on June 13th.
“We are honored to have our work recognized and be nominated for this prestigious #CorpCitizenshipAwards.”
AART graduations are a special time of year, an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of our students. Some of our students first arrive at our classes quiet, some struggling to leave their parents or with limited English skills. They also arrive with shy smiles and are eager to learn. One of our parents recently shared that her daughter started AART class speaking not a word of English and now she converses fluently and comfortably in English in and outside of the classroom. Her teachers observed her growing by leaps and bounds. By spring she was a confident and enthusiastic learner who emerged as a leader in the class. Our volunteers share in the excitement, awed by the growth of our students and their newfound confidence.
Graduation celebrations begin with students arriving in their best outfits and parents carrying platters of ethnic cuisine to share. Teachers share what the students have learned, classes sing songs and certificates of achievement are handed out. Proud parents snap photos of their preschool graduate and then the celebratory meal begins!
Summers are challenging for our students as they do not have access to the classroom structure and academics provided by AART classes. We’d like to obtain funding for additional AART classes to continue learning and preparation not only in the summer, but also in our school year programs.
“This year at every graduation I attended, parents approached me to thank me for the opportunity for their children and how much they appreciated how the program prepared their children for school.”
The Tory Burch Foundation invited AART Executive Director, Michelle Sullivan, to attend The Embrace Ambition Summit on Tuesday, April 24th at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center. Many nonprofit executives gathered with women entrepreneurs from all over the world to discuss the idea of doing well while doing good. “To say it was a transformative experience would be an understatement! It was a global think tank for a day of the most innovative minds to discuss the way we think about the entrepreneurial business community’s relationship with nonprofits” Sullivan pronounced.
Among the speakers were Virginia Delegate Danica Roem, Congressman Joe Kennedy III, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Other power players included author Margaret Atwood, actress Julianna Margulies, journalist Katie Couric, and Olympians Linsey Vonn and Ibtihaj Muhammad. Tory Burch took the opportunity to chat with as many of the attendees as possible and took an interest in the nonprofits and their myriad contributions to the communities they serve. Laurie Fabiano, president of the Tory Burch Foundation, told Michelle the intent of the Summit was to begin conversations and make connections across the entrepreneurial community as well as the nonprofit sector with the hope that the conversations would continue long after the Summit ended.
Actress Zoey Deutch told the audience that she can feel overwhelmed with what is going on in the world. She said it almost stymies her and sometimes she doesn’t know how to contribute to society. Deutch recounted Gloria Steinem’s powerful statement, “You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.” The nonprofit community knows this all too well!
Many thanks to our most recent foundation funders, the Maximus Foundation and the John Edward Fowler Memorial Foundation. As the philanthropic arm of MAXIMUS, the Foundation extends the mission of the Company by identifying and awarding grants to partners with specialized expertise to deliver results within the same populations and communities served by the public programs the Company operates.
The MAXIMUS Foundation is completely funded by MAXIMUS and its employees, and provides grants to local community organizations with programs and projects in the areas of child and youth development, health and community development.
The John Edward Fowler Memorial Foundation was created in 1964 by Pearl Gunn Fowler in memory of her late husband, John Edward Fowler, a Northern Virginia businessman. In recent years the Foundation has awarded about $1.2 million in grants annually.
Both grants will be used to support our school readiness classes. We couldn’t do our important work without their generous support.