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The DLC's 2019-20 Annual Report is Here!

Dear Friend of Literacy,

Way back in January, I marveled at what a good year 2019-2020 was proving to be! After several years of major changes, we were able to stabilize and re-balance our operations and staff team. We were exceeding many of the goals in our strategic plan and felt unified as an organization for the first time since our merger with the Achievement Academy in 2018. Positive indicators such as student attendance and volunteer retention were especially high compared to previous years.

Highlights of our year were:

  • The newly combined Youth Achievement Program, formed from the merger of our Youth Education Program and the Achievement Academy, had a dream team of expert educators at the helm who brought together the best elements of each model to create a hybrid of classroom instruction and individualized tutoring.

  • Our English for Speakers of Other Languages program experienced record high attendance, with above average student retention rates.

  • Our Adult Literacy program worked hard to update our curricula to incorporate the latest evidence-based methods from the Wilson Reading System.

  • Our program in the Durham County Detention Facility held a graduation ceremony for eight high school equivalency graduates and their families.

  • Our Computer/Digital Literacy program restarted with a pilot course led by student leaders from NC Central University.

  • We streamlined our data systems to track our organizational impact more effectively.

As we were catching our stride and gearing up for the Durham Literacy Center’s 35th anniversary, news of the coronavirus hit in March. Like many others, we made the difficult decision to close our facilities and quickly pivoted to remote instruction. We had to completely reimagine how we would connect with students and deliver instruction - a very steep challenge since many of our students lack the resources and skills they need to learn remotely.

Through the transition to remote instruction, we have piloted many different digital and other remote tools, making our programs more flexible than ever. Looking forward, we plan to continue with a blended learning approach so that we can help even more people reach their goals in the coming years.

Thanks to the perseverance of our students and the commitment of our volunteers, partners, donors and grant supporters, we move through uncertainty and proceed in strength.

Ever grateful to be part of Durham’s rich community,

Lizzie Ellis-Furlong

Executive Director


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