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October 30, 2015

Welcome to our new Richmond reading center

Reading Partners SF Bay Area expanded into Richmond and introduced a new reading center at Caliber Beta Academy this past September. We’re excited about the opportunity to serve a new Bay Area community and to collaborate with the West Contra Costa Literacy Coalition as we increase literacy achievement for Richmond students. Our Caliber Beta reading center is led by AmeriCorps site coordinator, Katherine James.

Although Katherine has only been at Caliber Beta two months, she already feels welcomed and has learned a lot about the school community. Caliber Beta is in year two of operation and because of its recent opening, Katherine describes the school as being highly adaptable and flexible in their curriculum. She says, “Cooperation is an important community value — all of the grades are team taught, meaning that students take different subjects with different teachers. Each grade level team works closely together to implement strategies and curriculum.” This cooperation makes Reading Partners a natural fit for the school and Katherine feels fortunate to be supported by her new community.

Within Reading Partners’ first few months at Caliber Beta, Katherine has already experienced exciting breakthrough moments with her students. One moment that stands out was with a fourth grader who recalled the meaning of a tricky new word after learning it only a few weeks before. Katherine explains, “It was thrilling to watch him remember and apply words and ideas we had learned to new books!”

There are many challenges that come along with starting a brand new reading center, such as finding new student-tutor pairs, getting to know the staff, and learning the role of site coordinator, however Katherine has overcome every challenge with a positive attitude:

Each small victory—getting a new student enrolled, or seeing a great tutoring pair in action—is a baby step in the right direction.

We can’t wait to see our students’ progress and growth at Caliber Beta this year, and we are excited to be a part of the collaborative work being performed in the Richmond community to boost student success. If you’re interested in volunteering at Caliber Beta, please email

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