Educational Institutions

The Learning Lamp, Inc.

  • Johnstown, PA
  • www.thelearninglamp.org

Mission Statement

The mission of The Learning Lamp is to engage all students with the support they need to succeed.

Main Programs

  1. Summer Camps
  2. One-to-One Tutoring
  3. Child Care
  4. Preschool
  5. Before and After School Programs
  6. Summer School and Credit Recovery
  7. Alternative Education
  8. Prevention Programs
  9. Online learning
Service Areas

Self-reported

Pennsylvania

Our primary service area is Cambria, Somerset, Bedford and Blair Counties, but the organization offers educational support for students and schools across Pennsylvania. In 2012, The Learning Lamp provided services to 13,339 students in 75 school districts and 35 counties.

ruling year

2003

Executive Director

Self-reported

Ms. Leah Spangler

Keywords

Self-reported

Tutoring, Afterschool, Preschool, Education, School-age, Child care

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EIN

20-0306745

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

Remedial Reading, Reading Encouragement (B92)

Other Youth Development N.E.C. (O99)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

Success in education translates into success in life. That's why The Learning Lamp works in partnership with schools, parents, and community-based organizations to provide children with high quality and affordable preparatory, reinforcement and enrichment activities that enhance classroom learning. In 2015, The Learning Lamp served 30,711 children from 57 school districts and 53 non-public and private schools and other organizations in 17 Pennsylvania counties and one county in Maryland.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Summer Camps

The Learning Lamp is celebrating its fifth year of providing quality summer camps for PreK-12 students in Cambria, Somerset, and Westmoreland counties. Summer camps run for eleven weeks beginning in June and ending in August. In 2010, we accepted over 900 registrations across all locations.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

Budget

$112,000.00

Program 2

One-to-One Tutoring

One-to-one tutoring in all subject areas for students in grades K-12. Certified teachers work with students to identify and resolve skill gaps and reinforce lessons taught during the school day. No child is turned away. Tutoring is provided on a sliding scale fee structure with needs-based scholarships available. This program is mobile so that children in even the most rural communities can access high quality academic support.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Budget

$168,000.00

Program 3

Child Care

Educationally-focused child care for children ages birth to 6. The Learning Lamp's child care programs feature highly qualified staff, a research-based early literacy curriculum and a nurturing environment designed to provide children with the foundational skills they need to succeed in kindergarten and beyond. Our programs are set to the standards developed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and instruction is aligned to Pennsylvania's Early Learning Standards. The Learning Lamp operates four licensed centers in Cambria and Somerset Counties.

Category

Human Services

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Budget

$616,000.00

Program 4

Preschool

Literacy-based preschool for children ages 2, 3 and 4 is a structured socialization and early literacy-based program that helps children grasp the pre-reading skills they'll need for kindergarten. Our preschools provides more than $100,000 in scholarships each year for children from middle- and low-income homes, allowing them to afford quality preschool that prepares them for entry into school. The Learning Lamp operates four Pennsylvania Department of Education-licensed preschool programs in Bedford, Cambria and Somerset Counties. We also provide scholarship support to additional independent, nonprofit preschools.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Budget

$196,000.00

Program 5

Before and After School Programs

Our Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare-licensed out-of-school-time programs offer homework help by certified teachers, games and activities based on the nationally recognized Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids (SPARK) curriculum, healthy snacks and a fun, upbeat environment. This program serves students in the Cambria Heights, Central Cambria, Ferndale Area Richland, Westmont Hilltop and North Star Area School Districts, as well as students of Saint Benedict School, a private PreK-8 Catholic school in Johnstown, PA.

Category

Human Services

Population(s) Served

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

Budget

$112,000.00

Program 6

Summer School and Credit Recovery

The Learning Lamp's summer school and credit recovery program helps middle and high school students who have failed a course during the school year make up the credit over the summer through additional instruction and completion of assignments. This program helps students stay on track for high school graduation.

Category

Dropout Programs

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

None

None

Budget

Program 7

Alternative Education

The Learning Lamp's alternative education classrooms serve middle and high school students at high risk for school failure. Students are referred by schools based on issues such as truancy, violence, drug and alcohol abuse and poor behavior. The programs offer a supportive, small group setting, counseling and community service opportunities. The ultimate goal is to help students resolve issues and transition back into the regular education setting.

Category

Educational Programs

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

None

None

Budget

Program 8

Prevention Programs

The Learning Lamp partners with community and state funders to deliver evidence-based drug and alcohol prevention programs to students in Cambria and Somerset Counties. During the 2012-13 school year, we reached more than 9,000 children in Cambria County alone.

Category

Educational Programs

Population(s) Served

None

None

None

Budget

Program 9

Online learning

Not available

Category

Animal Control

Population(s) Served

None

None

None

Budget

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    The Learning Lamp is focused on helping students succeed in school and graduate so they may become contributing members of our community. We work toward reaching that goal by offering a wide range of quality educational, preparatory and enrichment programs serving children from birth through high school. Our programs include child care, preschool, tutoring, before/after school programs, summer school, credit recovery, online learning, prevention programs and specialized classrooms, temporary and specialty staffing and substitute teacher recruitment/management for schools.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    The Learning Lamp believes that every child deserves the chance to reach his or her full learning potential—regardless of income or ability. One of our primary strategies to make that happen is to level the academic playing field. Through our annual scholarship campaign and aggressive appeal to businesses for contributions through Pennsylvania's Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program, The Learning Lamp makes available high quality and affordable preschool and one-to-one tutoring to economically disadvantaged children.

    Mission-driven, The Learning Lamp routinely assesses community needs while working in partnership with school districts, parents and other community organizations. We use data from the United Way of the Laurel Highlands, comprehensive surveys like the Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS) as well as our own informal communication with educators and parents to identify program needs. Our objective is not to duplicate existing services but to identify gaps in services and develop and launch programs that meet those demonstrated needs.

    In 2014, for example, in response to a request from Windber Area School District, The Learning Lamp launched a full-service substitute teacher recruitment and management program. Teacher call offs and scheduled absences are an administrative headache and substitute teachers are in short supply. In 2015-16, The Learning Lamp's Substitute Teacher Program served 13 school districts and 32 schools in Cambria, Bedford, Somerset and Allegheny counties.

    Seven years ago, The Learning Lamp responded to PAYS data indicating a need among young people in Johnstown for pro-social involvement outside of school. That, coupled with consistently poor reading proficiency at the elementary and middle school levels, particularly among lower-income children, led us to create a free after school program. That program, which began with one site and 25 kids, has since grown to four locations serving about 100 children four days a week and for six weeks over the summer.

    Because The Learning Lamp is committed to providing and sustaining quality programming that is impactful, we aggressively seek grants from local, regional and national foundations, as well as support from state and federal agencies. That being said, we recognize that grants, scholarships and fundraising dollars only go so far. The Learning Lamp has employed a strategy of diversifying our revenue stream so that the income we generate can be reinvested into the free and enhanced programs we offer—89 cents of every dollar goes back into programming. Together, these strategies have enabled The Learning Lamp to reach more children with meaningful programs that improve academic achievement, motivate children to reach higher and keep at-risk learners in school.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    In 2003, The Learning Lamp began with a single program to provide accessible, affordable tutoring to children of parents who lacked the financial and personal resources to provide that help on their own. In the 13 years that followed, The Learning Lamp dramatically expanded our portfolio of services to include: one-to-one tutoring, SAT prep, online learning, credit recovery and summer school; educationally-focused child care, literacy-based preschools and before and after school programs; portable science and geography classrooms and themed summer camps; specialized classrooms for at-risk learners, professional development, temporary and specialty staffing services, substitute teacher management and communications and project consulting for schools.

    Having started with one employee in 2003, our staff of 379 full- and part-time workers served 30,711 children from 57 school districts and 53 non-public and private schools and other organizations in 17 Pennsylvania counties and one county in Maryland in 2015.

    In 2012, The Learning Lamp converted former retail space in the building that houses its corporate headquarters into a fully operational children's consignment boutique. With that venture, came the opportunity to help sustain our free after school and summer outreach programs. Consignors to EcoKids receive half of the proceeds from sales of their clothes, toys, children's furniture and other items, and The Learning Lamp uses remaining profits to support operation of our outreach programs.

    Also in 2012, we led the way for a collaborative group of nonprofit human service agencies to launch a weekend feeding program for needy children in Johnstown. More than three years later, the Johnstown Backpack Project provided 360 hungry children with 68,652 ready-to-eat meals on weekends during the 2015-16 school year. The children were identified through 10 referral agencies that participate in the program.

    Meantime, with the financial assistance of individual and corporate community partners, The Learning Lamp consistently provides more than 3,500 hours in reduced-cost tutoring for income-eligible students in grades K-12 and more than $60,000 in preschool tuition assistance each year. Even so, contributions, grants and fundraising amounted to only 8 percent of our annual operating revenue in 2014. The bulk of our revenue comes from income-generating, fee-for-service programs such as child care, online learning and credit recovery, and school district contracts for temporary staffing and substitute teacher management. As mentioned earlier, it is that diversification of revenue that enables The Learning Lamp to respond to pressing community needs.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    The steady growth of The Learning Lamp over the past 13 years and the continual demand for new services stand as the most visible proof of the organization's progress. The sheer number of children served and number of partner school districts and other organizations is affirmation that parents and educators turn to The Learning Lamp for services and refer others to us.

    Because The Learning Lamp builds all of our programs to best practices, consumers expect and consistently receive services that meet and exceed quality standards. For example, in January 2016, The Learning Lamp's flag ship child care center earned national accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). This accomplishment is shared with only a handful of programs within 50 miles of Johnstown. NAEYC accreditation is considered the gold standard for early childhood programs.

    Additionally, all of our preschool and child care centers are involved in Pennsylvania's Keystone STARS initiative. Central to Keystone STARS is an evaluation process that recognizes programs as they progress through four levels of increasing quality improvement standards. We remain one of only two STAR 4 providers in Cambria County—the highest level attainable under the voluntary improvement program. The Learning Lamp's preschools are also licensed through the PA Department of Education, and all child care and before/after school programs are licensed through the Department of Human Services. Both programs have rigorous and ongoing evaluation mechanisms to ensure adherence to academic and health and safety requirements.

    Furthermore, The Learning Lamp actively measures the effectiveness of our programs and their impact on the children we serve. Grantors such as the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and the United Way of the Laurel Highlands are among those that require detailed quarterly reports from our staff. These reports help us look carefully at our progress and guide program changes, where needed, so the services we deliver continue to improve.

    Additionally, The Learning Lamp seeks other voluntary accreditations designed to provide consumers with further assurances of quality and transparency. The Learning Lamp recently achieved recertification from the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations (PANO) and became the first to successfully complete PANO's revised ethics and accountability code--Standards for Excellence, Version 2.0. The Learning Lamp is one of only 58 nonprofits statewide—and the only one in Cambria, Somerset, and Bedford counties—to achieve PANO's Standards for Excellence distinction.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    The Learning Lamp's mission is to engage all children in the support they need to succeed. We measure our accomplishments by those of the kids we serve.

    The Learning Lamp enrolled 170 children in our free after school and summer outreach programs for economically disadvantaged children last year. More than two of five children attended regularly. Of those, 50 percent completed homework on-site all or most of the time. More than two-thirds earned good or better grades and/or improved attitudes and effort toward school, self and others. On a more personal note, Saniyah is an entirely different student than she was a year ago, thanks to The Learning Lamp After School Outreach Program. Initially resistant to accept help with homework, Saniyah finally came to trust staff and ultimately improved in both reading and math by two letter grades! By the end of the school year, Saniyah was quick to pull homework from her backpack and was the first to offer to set the tables for dinner each program day.

    In 2016, The Learning Lamp secured a Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts grant that expanded free preschool to economically at-risk families in two communities in Somerset and Bedford counties. In 2015-16, The Learning Lamp served 172 children in nine pre-k programs for 3s and 4s in Cambria, Somerset and Bedford counties. In addition to free preschool for 20 students, we provided 50 children with more than $40,000 in tuition assistance to attend high quality pre-k programs. And these are programs with strong measurable outcomes.

    For example, of the 13 children who enrolled in The Little Learning Lamp at Everett Elementary in fall of 2015, only three children knew any numbers from 1-10, two knew basic shapes, and none met beginning expectations for recognizing upper and lower case letters for a 4-year-old. Additionally, all were lacking in fine motor skills needed for success in school. By the end of the school year, 10 of 13 fully met or exceeded expectations for identifying numbers 1-10, as well as all upper/lower case letters; 12 of 13 had mastered fine motor skills and 100 percent of children demonstrated kindergarten readiness in reading, listening, speaking and math, as well as social and large motor skills and intelligence.

    Also last year, The Learning Lamp provided evidence-based drug, alcohol, gambling and violence prevention programs to nearly 4,000 children in grades 3-12 throughout the tri-county area. Programs were funded by state and county drug and alcohol dollars and produced impressive results. By completion of the program Too Good for Drugs, the percentage of fourth graders that recognized the damaging effects of inhalants on the heart, lungs and nose increased by 42 percent; among sixth graders participating in Botvin's LifeSkills Training Program, there was a 28 percent increase in students that came to know that most adults DO NOT smoke.

Service Areas

Self-reported

Pennsylvania

Our primary service area is Cambria, Somerset, Bedford and Blair Counties, but the organization offers educational support for students and schools across Pennsylvania. In 2012, The Learning Lamp provided services to 13,339 students in 75 school districts and 35 counties.

Social Media

Funding Needs

Tutoring and Credit Recovery Scholarship Support Free After School Programs Preschool Scholarships Building Campaign Planned Gifts

Accreditations


Since 2008

photos


External Reviews

Source: greatnonprofits.org

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

THE LEARNING LAMP INC
Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

The Learning Lamp, Inc.

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2012
  • Board Chair, Board Co-Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Executive Director

Ms. Leah Spangler

BIO

Leah Spangler is the founding executive director of The Learning Lamp. Having earned a Master of Science in Journalism, Leah also serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown where she teaches Intro to Public Relations and Public Relations and Practice courses.

STATEMENT FROM THE Executive Director

"I am privileged to be a part of The Learning Lamp organization.  Our mission, to engage students in the support they need to succeed, has the power to transform lives.  In my ten years as executive director, I have witnessed many struggling learners build confidence and develop a love for learning as they master the math and reading skills needed to stay on track in school.  The support we offer for students and schools takes many forms.  My staff works diligently to ensure every child we serve makes measurable gains in academic performance.  I invite you to learn more about The Learning Lamp by visiting our website at www.thelearninglamp.org (http://www.thelearninglamp.org)."

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Robert Knipple

University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

Term: Mar 2011 - Mar 2015

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?