As Sandy Lovett, director of the Literacy Council of Middle Tennessee, shares a story about a student who was struggling with classwork, and then, with the help of the center, is now on the honor roll, she gets emotional. It is clear that serving as the director of the council and being an educator is deeply important to her. She has been with the council for two years after serving for several years as a teacher and principal. The respect and admiration she has for the students and tutoring staff can be heard through her descriptions and stories. She explains what the council has to offer the Sumner County community with the hope that more people will reach out for help with their educational needs.
The council has four programs that are offered to the community. The first is called COVER, and it allows tutors to go into schools, with the permission of the board of education, and work with kindergarten and first-grade teachers to develop a one-on-one tutoring program with their students. Mostly reaching out to Title 1 schools, this program served 160 students with a total of two tutors in its first year. Now, in its third year, the program has reached more than 1,000 students and operates with more than 45 tutors. They are currently serving students at Gene Brown, Lakeside Park, Venus Stewart and Walton Ferry Elementary schools. According to end of the semester surveys provided by teachers from last year, “the majority of the students have moved up a whole tier or more and contribute the COVER tutors one-on-one help as one of the reasons for their students’ improvement.”
The second offering is referred to as the HiSET program, or the high school equivalency test, which is most commonly known as the GED. Tutors offer one-on-one tutoring to adults 18 and up who wish to take this test.
The third program offers tutoring to students in reading and math, first through 12th grade. The final program is the adult tutoring program which reaches out to adults who are in need of educational assistance.
Sandy tells a story about a 69-year-old man who came to the council with little to no reading level and can now read at a third-grade level.
“After a few months, he shared, with tears rolling down his face, that he had read his first book to his granddaughter,” she says.
It is hearing success stories like this that shine a light on the fundamental importance the Literacy Council has in the Hendersonville community. Sandy shares several exceptional stories about the many children and adults who receive tutoring from the council and expresses her deep appreciation for all of those that make the literacy council possible. She says they have been blessed by God and are lucky to have such an amazing group of tutors to work with and rely on. The type of commitment that she and the staff of the Literacy Council of Middle Tennessee show to their students and community is essential to continuing positive education and learning practices. Those who educate without judgment or pretense and those who seek to be educated are truly everyday heroes.
For more information, visit LiteracyMidTN.org.