Groves Academy offers solution to close Minnesota’s reading ‘Achievement Gap’ with educator development program

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Boys & Girls Clubs calls literacy push ‘life-changing’ for Metro area youth

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Our goal may be ambitious, but we really believe we can move the needle.

Groves Academy announced today it is launching a new education development program for schools and educators to help close the reading achievement gap* in the Twin Cities. “This allows us to share our most valuable and advanced resources and expertise in reading literacy with teachers, schools and organizations serving at-risk youth, targeting K-12 students in the Twin Cities and throughout Minnesota,” said Head of School John Alexander.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities (BGCTC) is one of those organizations. The non-profit announced today it will take full advantage of Groves’s nationally-renowned programming while it serves more than 12,000 K-12 students—86% of which are considered low income—in five metro area locations with afterschool programs that enhance the school day. “We are excited to fund this new literacy push, which is an excellent fit with our existing literacy program by partnering with Groves,” said Terryl Brumm, Interim President & CEO. “The need to close the achievement gap has never been more urgent. We know the community-focused efforts by John Alexander and the highly-regarded staff at Groves Academy will change the lives of Twin Cities’ youth by reaching them outside the classroom.”

“Our goal may be ambitious but we really believe we can move the needle,” said Director of Literacy Katharine Krogness Campbell, who recently joined Groves to spearhead the literacy effort. She is a national consultant on literacy curricula which Campbell says, will arm teachers with the most effective tools they need to guide their students to maximize their learning and become fluent readers.

“We’ve developed a terrific evidence-based literacy program that really defines best practices for getting all students to read at grade level,” Campbell said. “The Groves Literacy Framework™ couples a highly-structured, multi-sensory language curriculum based on Orton-Gillingham principles with a proven method of delivering the content and tracking student progress. This framework is currently helping students at Groves advance over two grade levels in reading per academic year. Now we’re ready to share this approach with other schools and organizations to help close Minnesota’s large and looming reading achievement gap.” Teacher training for the BGCTC will begin in late August.

“This is long overdue--I think most of us would contend that learning to read is the most important skill that a child can acquire in school,” Alexander said. “Minnesota needs to focus on teacher development and literacy training to give all of our children a brighter future.” Alexander is a national expert and Minnesota leader in reading reform with a Master of Education from Harvard University specializing in reading and language-based learning disabilities.

At the Boys & Girls Clubs, students in first and second grades will receive evidence-based reading and spelling instruction. Students' progress will be monitored to ensure that those students have the best chance at passing the statewide reading test in third grade. “We make academic success a top priority in the early grades,” Brumm said.

Groves also makes literacy training available to individual K-12 teachers who are seeking professional development opportunities through training workshops. The workshops are ideal for teachers who teach kindergarten through 3rd grade and those who work with struggling readers in 4th through 12th grade and students who have a language-based learning disability.

“We can make a difference—I’ve seen firsthand how this works,” Campbell said. “We are thrilled to be able to share what we have developed at Groves and help to get outstanding results with other students, too. It’s going to be really exciting to see!”

*Scores released by the National Assessment of Educational Progress showed the achievement gap between white and black learners ranks Minnesota near the bottom at number 40, while the gap between white and Latino fourth-grade readers puts the state at number 49.

About Groves Academy
Groves Academy is a national leader and pioneer in educating students with dyslexia, ADHD, and other learning disabilities and attention disorders, and is the only organization of its kind in Minnesota. The premier 1-12 school in St. Louis Park was founded in 1972 and currently enrolls 250 students. Through research-based curriculum and personalized instruction, Groves Academy helps students build confidence, success, and purpose through transformative learning experiences. The school has a 100% graduation rate for the past decade. Since the 2005-2006 academic year, 143 students have graduated from Groves.

The Learning Center at Groves Academy provides diagnostic assessments for individuals who have language-based learning disabilities and attention disorders in the community from preschool-age to college and beyond, as well as tutoring, academic summer school programs, speech and language therapy, assistive technology training, and college counseling. Groves is also a key resource center in the Midwest, providing literacy training for teachers and holding workshops regarding learning disabilities and attention disorders for the public.

About Head of School John Alexander
John Alexander has been Head of School at Groves Academy since 2005, and has expanded the school’s programs and community outreach to increase awareness of reading and learning disabilities. He was the 2009 recipient of the Star Literacy Award from the National Association for Reading First. Alexander also writes a literacy blog, with information on the latest education research and advocacy.

For more information about the innovative work at Groves Academy, visit

About The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities
The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities represent more than 80 years of service to ensure that every young person has a bright future. Dedicated staff at eight metro-area locations and a rural camp provide activities and support to more than 12,000 young people from kindergarten through high school graduation. The Clubs’ mission is to enable all young people, especially those who need it most, to reach their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.

Club sites are placed in targeted neighborhoods where the need is greatest, and programs are offered year round. Academic success is a priority outcome, and the central goal is to help every child that comes through the door graduate from high school with a plan for the future. Initiatives such as Striving to Achieve Reading Success, Be Great: GRADUATE, Career Launch, Goals for Graduation, Money Matters, Power Hour, Club Tech and Netsmartz are designed to help youth create aspirations for the future, providing opportunities for career exploration and educational enhancement. For more information about the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities, visit

To schedule interviews, contact media liaison Robb Leer at 612.701.0608.

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Robb Leer