When Brayden* came to Guadalupe School to start the sixth grade, he was at just a third grade reading level. He liked to read and he read well in Spanish, his native language. Brayden’s family had emigrated from Mexico and at home he spoke only Spanish. He liked school, but like anyone who has tried to sit in a class taught in a foreign language knows, it was more than he could do to keep up.

At Guadalupe School, the objective is to take talented, intelligent and eager students like Brayden who fall behind due to socioeconomic circumstances and language barriers and help them to achieve their potential. With a classroom model that uses small classes managed by a teacher and a paraprofessional, the school is able to give students the extra support they need. With two professionals in each room, children like Brayden can receive one-on-one tutoring to catch up and excel in school.

Brayden was assigned to work with a tutor, Mr. Ocampo, who was able to use humor and a relaxed atmosphere to help Brayden find stories that interested him. His favorite genre is biographies. Brayden likes to read about people like Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein and, his personal hero, basketball legend Michael Jordan. While reading a story about Jordan, Brayden learned that in high school Jordan missed the cut for the varsity basketball team, but he didn’t give up. His setback inspired him to keep practicing diligently until he achieved his dream. This, and other stories Brayden read, inspired him to persevere and stick with his reading practice and to set his own goals. He told his teachers he wants to be at a sixth grade reading level before he leaves Guadalupe School. And after one year of working with Mr. Ocampo, he is almost there. The last time he was tested, he had jumped TWO full grade levels in reading comprehension—a result that impressed Brayden and left his teachers in awe.

At the heart of our community are people like Brayden and organizations like Guadalupe School, which serves 280 children in a K-6 program. Click here to follow the Heart of Our Community blog. Throughout May we will be sharing more stories about the programs at Guadalupe school and some of the people’s lives who have been impacted by their services.

It’s hardworking students like Brayden that make our community great!

* Brayden’s name and photo have been changed to protect confidentiality.

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