September is National Literacy Month, highlighting the importance of reading skills in lifelong success. Literacy is not just important for the future of our children; it is vital to the economic health of Tehama County.
“The vision we have of Tehama County as offering safe, caring neighborhoods, quality schools, and thriving employment opportunities depends upon education,” said Kate Grissom, Marketing Director of Rolling Hills Casino. Grissom, a mother of a first grader, is passionate about education and champions the grassroots movement of businesses, families and educators called “Expect More Tehama” with the full support of Rolling Hills and its owners, the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians.
“Education in Tehama County is a priority of ours,” said John Crosby, Economic Development Director for the tribe. “Education is the foundation of everything we envision for our children and our community.”
Currently, only 13% of our County’s residents hold a Bachelor’s degree, while the state average is 29%. Counties with strong economic development such as Alameda have rates closer to 40%. Tehama County’s graduation rate of 79.7% is close to the statewide average of 80.5%. However, counties with high levels of economic development tend to have graduation rates near and above 90%. From an economic development standpoint, Tehama County needs to raise the skills of its workforce in order to attract strong, growing companies and to retain higher skilled individuals.
Rolling Hills and the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki believe that literacy and higher education is so important, they have donated over a million dollars to local education programs such as the SERRF After School program and Expect More Tehama. According to Grissom, the Rolling Hills Foundation prioritizes support for programs focused on increasing reading levels of children and increasing college attendance. Rolling Hills also supports initiatives that convene and engage community in meaningful, solution-focused conversations and increase parent involvement in education. Programs funded by Rolling Hills includes Tehama Reads Summer Reading Gap Program, College Campus Visits, 8th grade Leadership Conferences, College Options, NEXT Tehama T-Shirt Project, Tehama County Math Coaching, Parent Club Grants for play structures, Technology Boosts to Classrooms, and much more.
“Rolling Hills is an indispensible partner in the education of the children of Tehama County!” said Larry Champion, Tehama County Superintendent of Schools. “In working with Rolling Hills, there is a “whatever it takes” attitude in helping our schools continuously improve in their mission to provide a meaningful educational experience for all students. Rolling Hills has contributed to the leadership and vision necessary to transform our educational system by supporting broad based community partnerships that have led to the formation of the Expect More Tehama and Tehama Reads programs.
“As a mom and someone who cares deeply for my community, I am proud of the role Rolling Hills plays in promoting literacy and education in Tehama County, and for making it possible for me to contribute to a cause for which I feel so much passion,” said Grissom.