Posthumus Honors A Steelcase Mentors Program

June 5, 2002
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GRAND RAPIDS — Madison Park Elementary School reports that thanks to increased focus on reading and boosted by volunteers, pupils at the school are sharply raising their reading proficiency rates.

In fact, the school says that as a result of volunteers' time in the Steelcase-sponsored program, 91 percent of the participating youngsters have raised their reading proficiency by an average of 1.25 grade levels.

The mentoring takes place as part of the HOSTS (Helping One Student To Succeed) program.

The announcement came in a press conference called by the school last week which included remarks by Dick Posthumus, Michigan's lieutenant governor, Steelcase representatives and the Michigan Friends of Education.

According to the school, more than 100 volunteers have been working one-on-one with the with a big pay-off in standardized testing performance.

According to results published by the Michigan Department of Education, the number of pupils scoring below par in the fourth grade reading MEAP test dropped from 46 percent in 1996-97 to only 8 percent last year.

The school also reports two added benefits, one subjective the other tangible.  The youngsters who work with the volunteers seem to exhibit markedly increased self-confidence and, meanwhile, disciplinary referrals have plummeted by 30 percent.

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