In the last few weeks, something exciting happened – we quietly launched our fifth program site. This new site presents a particularly unique opportunity for Reach to learn about the efficacy of our model in a new setting. Why? Because, for the first time, we have launched a program outside a school setting.
Beacon House is a community-based organization that provides a variety of programs for young people living in and around Edgewood Terrace, a housing community in Northeast DC. We were approached about partnering with them to train participants in their teen program to work with younger students in their after-school tutoring program.
Intrigued, we had to decide whether this kind of arrangement was something we would consider. We turned immediately to Reach’s Core Values – one of our stated values is that learning is a process that never ends. Would Reach work in a non-school setting? We saw a lot of value in learning the answer to that question, so we decided to give it a try.
Last week, we enrolled ten teen tutors at Beacon House. These teens come from four different DC schools – two traditional public schools, one charter school, and one parochial school. If we discover – as we expect – that Reach’s model works outside a school setting, it would allow the organization to reconsider one of the biggest barriers to our growth, geography. To this point, we can only work with students who attend high schools and elementary schools in close proximity. That could change.
We have a wonderful opportunity to work with a new group of young people. Additionally, we have the chance to learn whether our approach works in a non-school setting. We are very excited about both.
And one more thing…
At our school sites, we partner with teachers to provide extra support during tutoring sessions. At a non-school site, no such teachers exist, so we needed to find two Classroom Assistants to support our Program Instructor, Ms. Quilla.
Edgewood Terrace, where Beacon House is located, is just blocks from Trinity Washington University. Below, on the left, is a picture from Reach’s first ever tutoring session at Perry Street Prep (Fall 2010). Both of those young women are now first year students at Trinity. So, in one of the proudest moments of Reach’s history, we hired them. Welcome to the team, Chynna and Joyce!