​Where We Work

​In the 2019-20 school year alone, 340 full-time Literacy Lab tutors and Leading Men Fellows are helping more than 6,300 students in 142 schools every day.

Metro DC

2034

Students

42

Schools

113

Tutors

Sarah-Rose Dorton
202-643-9859
sdorton@theliteracylab.org
7 out of 10 4th graders in Washington, DC are not proficient in reading.
  • Although Washington, DC is the seat of power for our country, children living in the shadow of the Capitol have been historically underserved. The District of Columbia has consistently ranked last in many educational rankings and has one of the widest achievement gaps between low- and high-income children. Within sight of the Capitol are schools where over 80% of children do not read on grade level.
  • Recently, this has begun to change. The District of Columbia is at the heart of the education reform movement and has recently seen the fastest rate of improvement of any urban school district in the nation. The Literacy Lab was founded in Washington, DC and has served over 5,000 children in the District since 2009. The Literacy Lab’s efforts are centered in Wards 7 and 8 of the city, the areas which have traditionally had the worst outcomes for children and have some of the highest unemployment and poverty rates in the country. The Literacy Lab is deeply committed to continuing this trend of improvement for the city’s youngest residents.
  • Alexandria is a vibrant and diverse community, and this is reflected in its schools—Alexandria City Public Schools’ students speak more than 100 home languages, making it among the most diverse school districts in the country.
  • The Literacy Lab partners with DC Public Schools, Alexandria City Public Schools, and several public charter schools.
  • The Literacy Lab is proud to partner with Serve DC to implement its AmeriCorps programs in the District of Columbia.

Central Virginia

1242

Students

32

Schools

68

Tutors

Emma Byrne
304-261-2146
ebyrne@theliteracylab.org
Children in the Central Virginia area lag behind their peers statewide in reading skills.
  • The Literacy Lab launched programs in the Central Virginia area in 2016 and has current partnerships with Richmond Public Schools, Henrico County Public Schools, Hopewell City Public Schools, Petersburg City Public Schools, Hampton City Schools, and Newport News Public Schools.
  • Richmond and Petersburg’s public school systems rank last in the state in reading achievement (Standards of Learning Results, 2016).
  • In Henrico County, the percentage of residents living in poverty grew 73% between 2000 and 2014, indicating rapid demographic shifts that create a challenge for local school districts (US Census Bureau).
  • The Literacy Lab is proud to partner with the Virginia Office of Volunteerism and Community Service to implement its AmeriCorps programs in VA.

Baltimore, MD

1296

Students

25

Schools

71

Tutors

Rudi Zelman
443-879-9493
rzelman@theliteracylab.org
Only 13% of Baltimore’s 4th graders read proficiently.
  • For many decades, Baltimore and its port were gateways connecting the nation to the rest of the world. In recent years, however, dramatic economic change has left the city struggling to keep up. Baltimore has a large and pressing need for early literacy intervention.
  • According to the 2015 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), only 13% of Baltimore City Public School’s 4th graders could read on grade level. The key to reversing this statistic lies in high-quality early childhood education and evidence-based intervention, because closing a gap this wide needs to begin in the first years of life.
  • The Literacy Lab partners with the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and Baltimore City Public Schools to support comprehensive, full-service early education centers called Judy Centers. The Literacy Lab is proud to partner on this important initiative to help close the achievement gap between children living in high- and low-income neighborhoods in Baltimore as a way to help revitalize the city and create long-term change for residents.
  • The Literacy Lab is proud to partner with the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism to implement its programs in Maryland.

Kansas City, MO

918

Students

24

Schools

51

Tutors

Sarah Reape
816-945-2183
sreape@theliteracylab.org
Only 1 out of 3 third graders in Kansas City Public Schools reads on grade level.
  • Kansas City, MO has a dynamic and entrepreneurial spirit and historically served as a launching point for exploration of the American West. In the modern day, however, many of the city’s children are being left behind. In 2014, only 33% of all Kansas City Public Schools’ third grade students could read at grade level.
  • In response to lagging educational outcomes, former Kansas City Mayor Sly James (2011-2019) made improving early literacy one of his main education initiatives, sparking action and momentum throughout the city to support young readers. The Literacy Lab is proud to be a partner of the city in this mission.
  • The Literacy Lab serves students in Kansas City Public Schools, the Hickman Mills School District, the Center School District, Liberty Public Schools, and several charter partners.
  • The Literacy Lab is proud to partner with the Missouri Community Service Commission to implement its AmeriCorps programs in the state.

Springfield, MA

612

Students

14

Schools

27

Tutors

Thomas Oakley
413-351-9693
toakley@theliteracylab.org
Only 12% of Springfield’s students enter Kindergarten with the necessary foundational reading skills.
  • Children ages 5-17 in Springfield, MA are 3 times more likely to be living in poverty than others their age in Massachusetts according to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
  • By third grade, less than half (44%) of Springfield Public Schools students are proficient in reading (Springfield Public Schools Report Card).
  • The Literacy Lab launched programming in Massachusetts in the 18-19 school year and partners with Springfield Public Schools and Holyoke Public Schools.
  • The Literacy Lab is proud to partner with the Massachusetts Service Alliance to implement its AmeriCorps programs in Massachusetts.

Milwaukee, WI

180

Students

5

Schools

10

Tutors

Calvin Lewis
414-459-1068
clewis@theliteracylab.org
Wisconsin has the largest measured achievement gap in the country.
  • The Literacy Lab launched its Leading Men Fellowship in Milwaukee, WI in the 2018-19 school year, partnering with Milwaukee Public Schools and Next Door Milwaukee to place Fellows in pre-K classrooms and provide early literacy support across the city.
  • In Milwaukee, only 18% of pre-K students are enrolled in a high-quality childcare program that prepares them for Kindergarten and to be life-long learners.
  • Milwaukee continues to be one of the most racially segregated cities in the country. The city has the highest rate of suspensions among young men of color nationally, as well as a significant socioeconomic achievement gap.
  • Wisconsin was one of nine states that saw a decline in reading scores amongst fourth graders on national standardized tests in 2017.