Changing Without Drifting

As we continue having discussions about Reach, Inc., it’s fascinating to consider how the idea has changed.  The picture regularly becomes clearer even as we remain flexible in defining the concept.  At the start, we used our mission statement to define the program: Reach, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization that will improve literacy skills, across ages, by hiring and training struggling adolescent readers to be tutors in high-need elementary schools in The District of Columbia.  While this does explain the concept, it lacks the specificity to guide implementation.

In conversations with schools, we have gained an understanding of the specific students that would be most appropriate.  It seems that we will be working primarily with 9th grade tutors at launch (with potential to work with some 10th graders as well).  Additionally, due to their preparations for testing, schools seem most interested in our tutors working with 3rd grade students.  By exploring strong literacy research, we have also decided that our adolescent tutors will come from the bottom quartile of the literacy spectrum.  These decisions allow us to speak more concretely about program implementation.
While some aspects of the program design have come into focus, other questions have lead to more confusion.  During some conversations, stakeholders have encouraged Reach to move into schools much faster.  To this point, we continue to feel that launching a pilot program in a single school is the best launch strategy.  Additionally, we have felt pressures to change the program’s content to better position ourselves for funding.  In some ways, we constantly redefine our purpose, but our mission remains the same.  
Thank you, as always, for reading.
Mark
Founder and President – Reach, Inc.
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