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Education Analytics, a Madison nonprofit focused on education research, has been awarded a $7.73 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to expand an early literacy program in partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs in Wisconsin, Alabama and South Carolina.

The SPARK Early Literacy program is a research-based, early reading intervention effort in grades K-2, developed by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. Education Analytics will implement the program in 15 high-needs schools in the three states.

The expansion will serve 960 students in several Wisconsin districts, including public schools in Milwaukee, Stevens Point, Almond-Bancroft, Sparta, Antigo and Wisconsin Rapids, as well as Darlington, South Carolina, and Huntsville, Alabama.

Education Analytics described the program as cost-effective, integrating one-on-one tutoring, family engagement and after-school programming. Launched in 2006, the program’s effectiveness has been shown in multiple research studies, according to Education Analytics.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to bring the SPARK Early Literacy Program to more children,” said Pat Marcus, director of implementation at Education Analytics. “Over the past 11 years, we have seen the tremendous impact this program has had on students’ reading achievement and school attendance.”

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Karen Rivedal is the education beat reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.