Private and Charter School Literacy Initiatives


by Jeanna White

In its ongoing effort to find the best means to help all students learn to read and succeed by the third grade, the Foundation continues to make investments in partnerships with schools other than traditional public schools and systems. Partnerships with private and charter schools have seen tremendous success in student growth and have provided valuable information toward developing literacy best practices.

For example, in 2015, the Foundation partially funded a private-public school partnership between Triad Academy at Summit School with teachers and students from Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools in North Carolina. Camp Pathfinder, a five-week session held on the Summit School campus, brought together ten public school teachers trained in the Orton-Gillingham reading methodology with thirty struggling students who otherwise would not have been afforded the opportunity to attend such a beneficial camp on a beautiful private school campus. Results from the camp were so positive that the Foundation agreed to fund $50,000 for an expanded camp for ten new teachers and fifty students during the summer of 2016. A private donor also pledged an additional $60,000 in support of the 2016 camp.

Over the past five years, the Foundation has also invested more than $125,000 with Brookstone Schools, a small private school serving some of the most needy school children from the downtown Charlotte, North Carolina area. Every year it’s “Straight to the Top” summer learning and enrichment camp has grown and produced great results. In 2016 it will serve approximately 120 children from its school enrollment as well as students from surrounding neighborhoods. The strong success of Brookstone has attracted many funding partners. In fact, in the spring of 2016,  the Leon Levine Foundation issued a $150,000 challenge grant to school supporters so that Brookstone might add a second kindergarten class in the fall. The Mebane Foundation pledged an additional $20,000 to help with the challenge portion of that grant.

Most recently,  the Foundation committed $25,000 to Horizons National; an award-winning, tuition-free, summer academic program serving low-income, public school students on the campuses of independent schools, colleges, and universities across the country. The Horizons partnership with The Oakwood School in Greenville, North Carolina will be the first of its kind in the state. The Foundation hopes to learn from this private school outreach model used by Horizons National, that has shown great success and promise elsewhere in the country.

The documents linked below provide additional details and background information on these important initiatives: