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A Tale of Two Schools Bearden Elementary Walton Elementary
The Documentary The Challenge Get Involved
Meet the PeopleWhere Are They Now?

For nine years, Principal Leonard Brasfield and his team of teachers have focused on reading. Now everyone is on the edge of their seats, including Mr. Brasfield, waiting to see if Walton will make the grade when it comes to student achievement.

The first grade is Tavares Gross's first exposure to school. Tavares missed kindergarten and the opportunity to get a solid foundation for reading. Now it's apparent that he will not catch up immediately. With extra help from his own teacher, Candria Morgan, reading teacher Ruby Jackson, and from his aunt at home, it looks as if Tavares may have a chance. Take a look at some of Tavares’s school work or watch a clip of him behind the scenes.

When it comes to reading, Ruby Jackson is responsible for laying a solid foundation. She is one of Walton's dedicated reading teachers. When Ms. Jackson meets Tavares, a struggling first grader sent to her class for extra help, she knows she's facing a real challenge.

Vanessa Kemp is in charge of the reading program at Walton. When Reading Mastery first came to the school, Ms. Kemp tried it out on her 4-year-old daughter. Within days, her daughter was sounding out words. And Ms. Kemp was hooked. For five years, she has worked hard to ensure that every child at Walton learns how to read. And because of her dedicated efforts, Walton Elementary is now striving for an "Exemplary" grade, the highest a school can earn.

A couple of months into the school year, it seems as if most students are progressing in their reading skills, but not Tavares Gross. First grade teacher Candria Morgan feels that the only way that Tavares will catch up is if he spends some time with Ms. Jackson getting extra help. But she's not even sure that that will be enough.

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Photo Credit for Bearden Elementary: Maude Schuyler Clay
Photo Credit for Walton Elementary: Chris Hamilton

Produced by WETA Reading Rockets