On May 1, we welcomed U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to our writing center for a visit with After-School Tutoring students. 826 National’s Chief Executive Officer Gerald Richards provided a brief tour of the Pirate Supply Store, and afterwards, Emilie Coulson, Director of Education at 826 Valencia, presented an overview of 826’s educational programs both in-house and at schools around the city. “Students, tutors, and families had the chance to talk with the Secretary of Education about what is going on in their schools and in their lives. To have that direct access to the national conversation about education is so rare, and it really resonated with the students and all of us here,” Emilie said.
The Secretary observed part of 826 Valencia’s After-School Tutoring and joined students, tutors, and parents for a conversation about their work together. The visit culminated with students reading from a few of their (soon to be published) stories and poems Santiago Delgado, a student who spoke with the Secretary of Education, said, “It was an amazing experience to meet Arne Duncan because he is in charge of everyone’s learning and kids’ futures.”
“[At 826] we see students as young as eight or nine go from struggling in language arts to being completely engrossed and improving their reading and writing,” added Gerald Richards.
826 exists to support the important work of teachers, helping accomplish educational goals that are not easily possible with limited state and district budgets. “We are excited to have Secretary Duncan experience 826’s programming and observe firsthand our vision of community volunteers and parents partnering to ensure the success of our children’s education. 826 National and its chapters are inspired by the Department of Education’s recognition of our programs,” said Richards.
We are excited to have our programs recognized on a national level, and we hope that this attention will encourage more people around the country to create support for students in their own communities! Read Mission Local’s article on the visit.