Dream Big! The Story of Grady High School

Dream Big! The Story of Grady High School

What can we learn from a young teacher in inner city Atlanta with a big heart and a big dream? Let’s see!

Fresh out of college, Jake Hackett landed in an old high school and what he saw there broke his heart. There were kids in their late teens that were reading below the second-grade level and there was, like in most high schools, little if anything that was being done to teach reading to these teenagers.

Instead of just bemoaning the fact, he did something about it. He gathered some volunteers, got donations from the community, and did a summer program. 20 kids, all reading at or below the second-grade level, came to the Grady High School Reading Camp each day. They did Great Leaps in the morning and team building exercises in the afternoons, all over summer vacation.

The program looked like summer programs but here was the magic. All 20 kids reached independent reading by the end of the summer. Not to mention that disciplinary rates with those students went down 90%.

He did it again the next summer with a new group and had the same results. And again! Four years in a row! He took new batches of kids through his reading camp and every year a new batch of high school students had their lives changed by learning to read!

No matter what age your student is, it is never too late to learn how to read! Great Leaps changed lives for high school students back then and it still is today. Loving people like Jake, like yourself, can still change the world for your students. Thank you for caring enough to do so!

Here's a link to the video of his program made at the time "Grady Summer Reading Camp"

By Lisa Skisland

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