Starling and his family were new to the country when he started at Asa Messer Elementary in 2013, but his lack of English in the school didn’t stop him from quickly making friends with most of the students and, in particular, the Inspiring Minds AmeriCorps team that was stationed there. Starling received intensive literacy lessons from our Corps members every day of the week, and his enthusiastic personality and excitement to learn quickly made him an obvious student to invite to Leyendo, a program designed specifically for bilingual students to build language skills quickly.
Starling then began to join the entire 10-member AmeriCorps team twice a week after school, participating in games, experiments, and lessons and each time looking sad when it was time for dismissal and always asking when the next meeting would be. He also joined our the Corps at two separate week-long academic camps that ran over student spring breaks, giving up his free-time at home in order to spend more time with the Corps members and friends he made in the program. On the final Leyendo field trip of the year, he joined the rest of the students in begging for the program to not end.
Due to Starling’s ever-present excitement to learn, his teachers saw a dramatic improvement in his usage of English in the classroom and in his scores – because of this, Starling was not assigned a tutor this past year, and our volunteers were assigned to students performing lower than him in the classroom. Our hope is to be able to follow Starling in his education to ensure he continues to receive support in the classroom, and with the continued support of our volunteers and donors we know we can!