Nalisa was reading on a 3rd grade level before joining Beyond School in March. She had difficulty with comprehension, often forgetting details of books and passages after reading them. But Nalisa kept trying. She worked with her Success Coach and volunteers on fluency reading assignments and started reading more books. Within a few weeks, Nalisa’s test scores reflected major changes in all of her academic subjects – especially in reading.

Since starting Beyond School, Nalisa’s reading grade level has improved 3 years. Her most recent progress report shows her reading grade doubled from her previous report. She’s shown growth in quizzes she takes after reading books to help better understand the material. With the help of her volunteers and Success Coach, she also has improved in her fluency assignments. Now, Nalisa is reading on a 6th grade level. Some books she’s read recently include “Superfudge” and “Dogs Can’t Tell Jokes” and she is currently reading “Baudelaire Children.” Nalisa’s strong drive and dedication shows through her improvements, which she credits Beyond School for helping her make these changes: "It feels good."

Outside of academics, Nalisa has shown growth in leadership inside and outside the classroom. Her exuberant personality and positive nature is contagious. She walks into St. Louis College Prep’s gym and plays basketball with her peers. She hugs everyone when she enters the room, a gesture volunteers and Success Coaches call “Nalisa Hugs.” She volunteers her service when a helping hand is needed. Nalisa understands and values the importance of being a leader to people around her: “Everyone is their own person and they can do what they want to do.”

Today, Nalisa is prepared to begin 8th grade in the fall, where she will continue to be a leader to her peers and get back on track for high school and beyond.

Beyond School focuses on empowering our students in their academic, social and emotional lives. With the help of our volunteers and Success Coaches, students like Nalisa are impacted to make and achieve higher academic goals. This impact not only equates to success for our students, but they are now empowered to make changes in all aspects of their lives, making the transformation needed in our city.

By volunteering in Beyond School on Monday-Thursday at 4pm-6pm, you can help us build more leaders like Nalisa. Contact Kayla at kayla.colona@missionstl.org today!