Windsor Funds Groundbreaking Summer Literacy Program for Children with Proceeds from the 2014 Charity Polo Cup

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Sixty rising third-graders from the School District of Indian River County took part in a pilot summer literacy program made possible by funds raised at the 2014 Windsor Charity Polo Cup. The program, called “Summer Literacy on the Lagoon,” was designed exclusively for Windsor, a private residential community in Vero Beach, Florida by the School District of Indian River County in collaboration with The Learning Alliance, a local non-profit organization.

Vero Beach Real Estate Development Windsor Funds Summer Literacy Program

Summer Literacy Program Students at the Environmental Learning Center

“The Literacy on the Lagoon program has been an amazing opportunity to not only work with students on basic literacy skills, but to also expose them to hands-on, real-life environmental issues," says Kelly Baysura, principal at Treasure Coast Elementary.

Literacy is the number one predictor of economic prosperity and third grade reading proficiency is the crucial pivot point. Children learn to read by third grade, so they can read to learn thereafter. In today’s economy, literacy is a prerequisite for 90% of paying jobs. Third grade reading proficiency has become the gateway not only to high school graduation, but to jobs and self-sufficiency. Nationally, an astonishing 68% of third grade children are not reading on grade level.

Children without summer learning opportunities often lose about 25% of their literacy skills during the summer; children in poverty can lose up to 46%. The literacy program was developed to help arrest the "summer slide" by simultaneously providing intense literacy instruction with an integrated environmental unit of study.

The four-week long program was based at Liberty Magnet School. On Mondays and Fridays the children were transported to the Environmental Learning Center for hands-on, environmentally-themed educational activities. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, the students remained at Liberty Magnet School for intensive reading lessons conducted in the classroom.

“The Literacy on the Lagoon program has been an amazing opportunity to not only work with students on basic literacy skills, but to also expose them to hands-on, real-life environmental issues," says Kelly Baysura, principal at Treasure Coast Elementary. "The most successful impact of this program has been the integration of the interactive environmental studies connected to literature and class work. Our students have a better understanding of vocabulary and are able to connect it to current, real-life events in our lagoon. One of the greatest measures of success is hearing many students refer to themselves as scientists while they discover ways they can help keep the lagoon clean and healthy. I believe this program has helped to create a new generation of environmental ambassadors, while at the same time firming up and enhancing basic literacy skills."

The children attending the program were provided a daily breakfast, snack and lunch as well as transportation. The funds raised by Windsor’s biennial charity polo cup event covered the costs of curriculum development, staff, meals and all transportation needs. Many volunteers from the local community donated their time to the effort.

The Windsor Charity Polo Cup is a biennial event that takes place at Windsor on its picturesque polo field amid the distinctive, walkable neighborhoods of this seaside New Urbanism community. Recognized as the premier high goal charity polo match of the season, the 2014 event featured an exciting roster of top-level international polo players including Mike Azzaro, Memo Gracida, Luis Escobar, Malcolm Borwick, Pablo Dorignac, Salvatore Ferragamo, and celebrity television personality John Walsh. The event raised funds not only for the Summer Literacy Program, but also for The Rett Syndrome Research Trust, a nonprofit organization that seeks a cure for what is the most physically disabling of the autism spectrum disorders.

Windsor is a private residential community spanning 416 acres of lush barrier island between the Indian River and the Atlantic Ocean in Vero Beach, Florida. Established in 1989 by Hilary and W. Galen Weston of Toronto, Canada, Windsor was designed by renowned town planners Andrés Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk to offer public and community spaces framed by timeless architecture and landscape design that celebrates this tropical and unspoiled setting. Windsor features an outstanding selection of homes and homesites including Village residences, Golf homes and Oceanfront homes, cottages and country estates; all are remarkable for their distinctive architecture which blends classic southern and island home styles with a contemporary appeal that has earned it critical acclaim throughout the architectural community.

For more information on Windsor and its limited offering of pristine Vero Beach real estate visit

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Laura Romot
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