Two years ago when Destiny Middle School, Tacoma’s first charter public middle school, opened its doors, more than 80% of the students were reading below grade level. Jenni Denison’s son Isaiah was one of those students.
Isaiah is a positive, optimistic and hardworking student. When he came to Destiny as a sixth grader, he was reading in between a first and second grade level. Jenni couldn’t find the right fit for her son that would both help him get back on track and push him to reach his potential. She found both in the intervention model at Destiny Middle School.
Before the first day of class, each student’s’ abilities are assessed in reading and math. The results give educators a picture of students who need extra help, where they excel or in what areas they need extra support to catch up to grade level. This process helps Destiny staff personalize each student’s education so they can grow academically and socially.
For a student who needs extra help, they are placed in an intervention class concurrently to their grade level course. Intervention classes are purposefully small so each student can get the individual support they need.
In addition, intervention teachers maintain constant communication with families to keep everyone engaged and informed on a student’s progress toward their goals.
Isaiah’s personal and academic growth have been amazing so far. Two years later, as he prepares for eighth grade next school year, he now reads at grade level. His mom says his academic growth has reinforced his confidence and belief in himself. Isaiah has also won recognition for his positive attitude.
Maleaka Carter’s daughter Saniah also experienced similar academic and personal growth at Destiny Middle School. Maleaka says Saniah has grown academically, become more responsible and taken initiative to work hard in school.
Saniah entered Destiny at a second grade reading level, and now as a seventh grade student, earns some of the highest grades in her class.
Isaiah and Saniah are just some of the many student success stories in Tacoma that are proving the power of meeting students where they are, no matter where they are, and not giving up on their growth or potential. At Destiny Middle School, and throughout the Green Dot network, we have an unwavering belief in each of our students. We know challenging and caring for students is the only path forward to serving more students like Isaiah and Saniah, future leaders of Tacoma.