This was a special night for me, as well as for our Learners and their families. I grew up in a home where education wasn’t always a priority. In fact, I was held back in second grade because I hadn’t learned how to read yet. For the rest of grade school, I would often pretend I knew what was going on. I slowly gave up on school, and eventually dropped out. I got lucky, though, when one day in my early 20s I met my role model. He didn’t know it, but I looked up to him. He was the first friend I had who actually challenged my thinking. My real education began when I was 23, when I returned to school for my Bachelors degree and was later accepted to a Masters program. My real achievement, though, is that 10 years later I had the great honor of presenting our first group of Learners with their 10BH School-Readiness Degree.
This fall, 30 of 10BH’s Learners will enter kindergarten in the Ravenswood School District. They will make up 6% of all kindergarteners in the district, and our numbers will only continue to grow. By 2017, we expect to graduate 150 Learners a year into kindergarten in Ravenswood.
We are already seeing amazing results from the 10BH Learners who started kindergarten in 2013. While less than 30% of students in the district performed at grade level, an astonishing 100% of 10BH Learners earned grades at or above grade level.
Quickly and surely, Learners and their families are blazing a new path that other families in the community can follow. In fact, we expect that our families and Learners will become leaders in the Ravenswood District. As our numbers grow, not only will our Learners succeed, they will encourage their peers to do better, will enable teachers to cover more ground, and our parents will convince other parents to get involved. This, we believe, will contribute to a brighter future for thousands of children in our community.
Most of all, I have to thank the parents of our Learners. I can truly appreciate the commitment each and every parent makes to their child’s education. Their child’s success in life is due in large degree to the commitment these parents made to their child’s future.
It’s no accident that these children, our Learners, made their way to the stage for a high five and their School Readiness Degree on August 15th. They were meant to succeed. They are destined to thrive and be prosperous, and with the dedication of their parents, I have every reason to believe they will.