As the director of the NC GSK Foundation, I've had the good fortune to work with many organizations on a variety of issues in education, science, and health. One of those organizations is the Hill Center in NC--who has received grants from us to train K-5 teachers on methodology for students with learning disabilities.
Independent analysis has shown that the Hill methods are successful. But what makes my job so rewarding is hearing directly from those students--and knowing that young lives are being transformed. Take a look at what they've said:
·If you put kids in this class they will understand what the teacher is saying and then they will have A's and B'...You never know what they will be when they grow up. They might be a CEO. So put them in this class.
·I just can't tell you how much I want to thank you...At my school, when my Hill Write teacher came, I was the first one to be in her class. Ms. W has improved my writing 100%. Before she came, my writing stunk. So, thanks for bringing her here.
·Thank you for donating money for HillRAP. HillRAP taught me new words so that I can go to the next level. I didn't have to guess the big words. I knew how to read them. I am a better reader. Thank you.
Now, I am thrilled that the foundation is extending those learning services to college students. The NC GSK Foundation has approved a $1,000,000 grantover three years to support the College STAR (Supporting Transition, Access and Retention) program. The College STAR program is designed to provide access to higher education for students who struggle to learn because they learn differently. The funds will support students as they apply to one of six UNC campuses, and to welcome and help transition the students through graduation. Initially, the project will be piloted at East Carolina University, Appalachian State University, and UNC Greensboro and then transitioned to three additional campuses.
Though our work with the Hill Center we know that interventions unlock new worlds for students with learning differences. It boosts their confidence and enables them to reach their real potential.
On the evening of January 25, I had a special spring in my step as I joined UNC President Tom Ross at the President's residence to announce the new venture--because one of our students just might just be a CEO one day!