Spotlight on the Good Works of the RCM Community Trust: RCM Reading Initiative at Brown Street Academy

The Rotary Club of Milwaukee’s Reading Initiative at Brown Street Academy (BSA) finished the 2014-2015 school year with impressive results.


Testing proved that more than 72% of the BSA students improved their reading proficiency this year, thanks in part to the RCM Reading Initiative started three years ago.  Each semester RCM brings a cadre of volunteers to help under-performing students read better.  This past school year 94 UWM students and 21 Rotarians provided one-on-one tutoring in each BSA classroom Monday through Friday, for a total of 325 volunteer hours.  The aim of the program is to help the most challenged students engage in what we hope is a lifelong enjoyment and appreciation of reading. 


On May 22 BSA held an awards ceremony honoring the female and male Most Improved Reader (MIR) from every classroom.  The honorees were selected based on the number of points they gained comparing their MAP (Measurement of Academic Performance) reading test scores from the Winter 2015 with the Spring 2015 results.   Each MIR received a bicycle as their award.  The bicycles were made possible with funds from the RCM Community Trust.  


The Most Improved Readers worked hard to earn these bicycles.   Reading improvements ranged from 12 points to a whopping 40.  And the child scoring a 40 point gain has some serious behavior challenges, but with the patience and perseverance of the volunteers, and her own motivation to win a bicycle, this second grader is now a very good reader! 


In addition to recognizing the students, Ms. Joanne Schilz third grade class paid special tribute to a consistent Rotary volunteer, Steve Chevalier.  Mr. Steve has been helping Ms. Schilz’s classroom students for three years and his patience is very much appreciated.  So much so that the students wrote him a poem which they presented on May 22nd. 


Mr. Steve

Our rotary volunteer is the best
He reads and writes with us on Wednesday
He never lets us students rest
What is his name you say?
Mr. Steve Mr. Steve Mr. Steve


He’s quiet and has reserve
He hides inside a poet’s heart
Here to visit and to serve
To share his talents and his smart.
Mr. Steve Mr. Steve Mr. Steve


Thank you for your service
To our class the whole year long
Thank you for your sacrifice
To help to make us strong!
Mr. Steve Mr. Steve Mr. Steve


The RCM Reading Initiative will resume with the Fall 2015 semester.  If you would like to learn more about this program and to perhaps volunteer, please contact Rotary BSA Liaison Barbara Velez at Volunteers are asked to commit one hour of their time each visit, however, they need not commit to once a week; every other week is also appreciated. Volunteer hours are between 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Monday through Friday.