Years ago, when you put “Red Hook”
into your browser on the Internet, you found out things like, this was the crack capital
of the United States of America, you found that that there were, you know,
ridiculous murder rates. Four percent of people in this area go to college. Four percent have college degrees. We have many scholars, or students, who are reading below…
well below their grade level. I want to make certain that our children
become their best selves. And, I know reading is the key to that. It does dictate their success,
there just is no way to get around that. Everywhere you go, like, there’s no place
where reading’s not gonna be there. No matter whether you’re teaching PE,
whether you’re teaching science… I want everyone here to consider
themselves a literacy teacher. For me, Reading Plus is all about promoting
not only academic achievement, but a love of literacy inside and
outside of the classroom. It’s the small successes that build
to the big successes. It helped me see that if I put in the effort,
I will actually be able to get that out. I get to read what I want to read,
instead of what everybody else wants to read. So, kids are learning about a variety of topics while learning and improving their reading ability. When I have a scholar who comes to us
reading on the third grade level, and at the end of the school year
they’re at a sixth grade level, I’m inspired by that. I like Reading Plus because it does give the students
data about their own performance. So, it’s a very supportive tool for intervention. And, just knowing where kids are
in terms of their mastery of certain skills. You can’t deny the results. Students began to read more, students began to like reading, students’ skill sets went up. When a student begins to love to read, it actually
changes them as a person, if that makes sense. [Group] I’m on a constant quest for knowledge
as I make my way to college. One hundred percent of our scholars have gotten into
at least one or more college or university. All of them. One hundred percent! Now, when you type in “Red Hook”, you see
Summit Academy Charter School, you see college. I want to be able to help people. If they don’t understand,
I want to be able to help them to understand. We’re really not just building children who
are great readers and problem solvers, but also the good citizens. It’s like a whole different change
in your whole mindset and lifestyle. We’re not just changing the children’s
lives in this community, we’re changing the community. I’m looking forward to really seeing our kids
become whatever it is they want to be… to go out and change the world.