Best Literacy Champion: Truly leaving no child behind

Tom Prince, Rosa Parks Environmental Science Magnet School

It’s become a truism that California’s public school system is in trouble and that the kids are suffering. But there are plenty of teachers who are doing a lot of good with the resources they’ve got, particularly in the area of literacy. East Bay educator Tom Prince is one of them. For more than 25 years, he has worked in both the Berkeley and Oakland school districts with children who are struggling with reading; today he serves as reading resource teacher at Rosa Parks Environmental Science School in Berkeley. Over the years, Prince has championed Reading Recovery, a unique and proactive program developed in the 1970s by educator Marie Clay to help children in the bottom 20 percent of their class catch up to their grade level. (The program consists of one-on-one instruction for thirty minutes a day, five days a week; by the end of a session, which can be twelve to twenty weeks, the majority of kids enrolled in the program are caught up.) With teacher-literacy advocates like Prince in our schools, perhaps there will be a day when truly no child is left behind.

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