This month, I’m excited to introduce one of our key supporters, Angela Prince, Mumford High School Principal to share her personal thoughts on literacy and Beyond Basics.   From time to time, I will invite our key stakeholders to write a guest column on topics that align with our mission to bring literacy to everyone.
– Pam Good

Literacy Changes Society for the Better
by Angela Prince, Principal
Mumford High School

It didn’t take me long to see the impact Beyond Basics made on the children who participated in their reading tutoring program. I first learned about Beyond Basics in 2014, when the Wayne and Joan Webber Foundation brought Beyond Basics into my school, University Yes Academy, a charter school in Detroit, to improve literacy.

The tutors connected quickly with the children through art and writing projects, activities Beyond Basics used to break the ice and make the hard work of learning to read more fun. This initial experience eliminated the stigma typically associated with students requiring tutoring, allowing students to embrace the program. I watched with amazement and pride as the students began to learn, grow and develop self-confidence. The children enjoyed their success in learning to read and wanted to be in the Beyond Basics classroom.

I have taught in five different states – Florida, Texas, Alabama, Rhode Island and Michigan and have never seen a program as impactful as Beyond Basics.

In 2016, I became principal at Mumford High School and realized quickly how many children desperately needed this program. Immediately we started fundraising and were successful. I’m happy and grateful to share that two of the organizations that have funded in the past, Detroit Public Schools Foundation and the McGregor Fund, have already agreed to fund the program again this year.

The impact on a child’s life and our society
Children who have gone through the Beyond Basics program consistently say, “I was failing everything and now I’m passing everything.”

Beyond Basics students walk out with confidence and pride that they are finally on an even playing ground. How do you measure that confidence and pride? I’m not sure, but it provides a foundation, one they can continue to build on once they graduate from the program.

All children have the right to literacy and a quality education. To support Beyond Basics and to shed light on literacy, Mumford High School hosted the Beyond Basics Literacy Summit during National Reading Month in March. Hearing Elijah’s story spoke to the hearts of these children and many were finally ready to get help. The heartbreaking news is that many of these children were seniors who have since graduated and it was too late to get them into the program.

I’m hopeful that we can bring some of the students back to the new Beyond Basics Family Literacy Center at the Durfee Innovation Society, where they can participate in the tutoring program. These children need to know how to read to be successful. Without those skills, they will struggle.

Why we need your help
Most of the children in the Detroit Public Schools Community District are two to four grade levels behind. The work that Beyond Basics does in their tutoring sessions is impossible for teachers to do in the classroom because there are so many students who need help.

Beyond Basics should be available to any child who is illiterate. As advocates for children, we should look into folding Beyond Basics into all of our schools so we can help all of our students.

Our new Detroit Public Schools Community District slogan is when students rise, we all rise. Literacy will change our society for the better. I am grateful for the partnership we’ve had with Beyond Basics and hope we can bring this program to more students in the coming school year so we can see more students rise.

Joy Road is the journey Pam Good began that has led to Beyond Basics. It all started when she took Exit 9 to Joy Road years ago to help out at a school in Detroit.
Karon, a Second Grade Reading Readiness Graduate, always looked forward to coming to his tutoring sessions. Karon loves to read. The part he liked best about being tutored was being able to ready many different books. He is a cooperative student and an enthusiastic learner. He did a wonderful job decoding and sounding out unfamiliar words. Karon would read anything we put in front of him, but his favorite book was Pete the Cat.

In addition to his reading success, Karon wrote “Adventures!” in our Publishing Center. We are extremely happy with all of Karon’s progress!
Angelina is a Read to Rise Graduate. Angelina exemplifies all of the characteristics that make for a perfect student! Angelina always came to class on time, with a smiling face and a mind eager to read and learn.

She was always open to constructive criticism regarding her reading and used it to improve upon what she considered she needed to work on – word identification and grammar. Angelina said, “Beyond Basics helped me improve my grammar without me noticing. I can now pronounce words that I couldn’t before."

Angelina’s love of reading continued beyond her sessions in Beyond Basics – she came in regularly to check out new books to read. She is truly a “Bookworm” and it has been our privilege to help support her passion for reading books.
As we close another school year, Beyond Basics is proud to look back at the tremendous success achieved by the students who participated in our reading tutoring programs in the 2017/2018 school year. Here are our top 50. Our students saw improvements from 1.5 to 6.3 grade levels after going through our intensive one-on-one tutoring program.
Keith Famie’s short film “A Day in the Life of Elijah Craft ,” which chronicles how learning to read changed Elijah’s life, is one of the films featured in the highly prestigious IMDb-qualifying New Hope Film Festival in New Hope, Penn. that ran from July 20 to 29. The film was also nominated for an Emmy in Michigan.
Please join us to support literacy at our inaugural Family Literacy Center Event. Enjoy an evening of cocktails, strolling dinner, and a tour of the first HUD EnVISION Center in America. We welcome your partnership to empower neighborhoods with literacy.
Taylor School District Superintendent Ben Williams, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Mary Ann Cyr, Principal Tamara Jackson, and Beyond Basics Office of Literacy Clodie Martin
"...Myers has been exited from the priority school list and I can only say that outside of the educators and students that Beyond Basics did have a lot to do with our student growth. So I’m very excited about this and I do look forward to more partnerships,” said Tamara Jones-Jackson.

Listen and watch  Principal Tamara Jones-Jackson , of Myers Elementary School share the exciting new from earlier this year!

On March 30, Myers Elementary School in Taylor, Mich. was removed from the school priority list. Beyond Basics partnered with Taylor Reading Corps   in 2016 to help students at Myers Elementary to improve literacy and the test scores of students at the school. This happened thanks to the leadership of 23 rd  District Court Judge Geno Salomone and president of the Taylor Reading Corps; and significant financial support of their community partners – McKinley Properties; The PNC Foundation; The Taylor Community Development Corporation and the Taylor School District.
Your donation will help change lives.
Contact Johanna Zwally at (248) 408-1735