As we’ve reported before, many foster children have gaps in their education from moving around frequently or coming from families who don’t prioritize school. In 2017, that equalled 45% of the school age children placed at Coyote Hill testing below grade level in reading upon arrival. Traci* was one of those statistics, until last month.
Traci was a 12-year-old in 5th grade when she arrived. Her Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) said she was only at a 2nd grade level. This meant a huge struggle for her, trying to keep up with her 5th grade classwork. Our staff and Traci’s teacher realized she would need all the support she could get.
Case Manager and Education Center Director Paige Brokaw put countless hours into that support. She set up tutors to meet with Traci after school. Traci’s Home Parents allowed her to earn privileges at home if she would spend 30 minutes reading. At school, her teacher not only worked really hard to help her catch up, she also advocated for Traci multiple times to get her more resources so she could succeed.
By the end of the school year, Traci’s DRA was at a 4th grade level. She improved TWO years worth of reading in just seven months’ time! Her teacher was so incredibly proud of her success that she awarded her the “most improved” award at the 5th grade graduation.
Not only did the improvement show in Traci’s academics, but she also started reading at home just for fun. Sometimes her Home Parents find her reading to her little sister, both curled up on the couch with a blanket, enjoying this newfound way of hanging out together. Her improved reading skills have also built her self-confidence, as she now identifies herself as a “good reader:” someone who likes to read, and is good at it. That is so huge for her!
We are all so proud of how far along she has come. Thank you for your support that helps Traci and other children like her to reach their full potential.
*name changed for sake of confidentiality