Westside Christian Academy-Detroit Graduates 35 Students From 'Beyond Basics Literacy for Everyone' Tutoring Program

Westside Christian Academy of Detroit held a Graduation Ceremony to honor 35 students who successfully completed the Beyond Basics Reading and Tutoring program held at the school.

Westside Christian Academy of Detroit held a Graduation Ceremony to honor 35 students who successfully completed the Beyond Basics Reading and Tutoring program held at the school.

Bloomfield Hills business owners Tom and Laurie Cunnington sponsored the Beyond Basics program at Westside Christian Academy, a privately funded K-12 grade school located at 9540 Bramell in Detroit.

“When I heard that, once again, Michigan students were the poorest in the nation with scores virtually unchanged from the last time the test was given by the National Assessment of Educational Progress,” said Tom Cunnington, “I knew we had to do something about it.” 

Thirty-five Westside students ranging from grades 2 through 11 were tested and enrolled in the program. Each child brought his/her own unique struggles, from dyslexia and spelling to simply struggling to focus on the task at hand. Beyond Basics tutors were determined and prepared for the challenge.

“This is an amazing school,” stated Lisa Bozick the Beyond Basics Program Manager for Westside. “Everyone was so helpful and the kids are all super polite and eager to learn. Every student has a different need and we tailor the programs to those specific needs.”

“We are deeply thankful to Tom and Laurie Cunnington for their generous donation to fund this program for the students of Westside, and for the tutors from Beyond Basics who poured into the lives of our students,” stated Dr. Henry Wells III, the Headmaster of the school. 

The program for the second and third-grade students was Reading Readiness, which develops letter recognition, and enhances phonemic and phonological awareness. The young students learned sight word recognition, helping to expand their vocabulary. This program taught them to build oral reading fluency and advanced comprehension skills.

Also used in the Westside tutoring program was the Read to Rise program for grades 2 through 12. This program builds oral reading fluency and develops comprehension skills while expanding vocabulary and word decoding skills, promoting a genuine interest in literacy. 

The Scholars Program, also for grades 2-12, builds connections between text and real-life experiences. Students learn to build oral reading fluency through repetitive reading developing comprehension skills. Vocabulary is expanded through context clues and decoding skills.  

“Through a one-on-one reading tutoring intervention, we were able to identify and address each child’s needs,” stated Laurie Cunnington.

Shauntee Murphy, a ninth grader at Westside, said she didn’t how to write an essay before taking the program. “I didn’t know how to edit it or if it was long enough or too long. I wasn’t familiar with big words and struggled to pronounce them. But the program taught me not only how to write it but how to say it.”

Shauntee’s mother, Mrs. Latrece McGee, said her daughter gained much through the program. "Her need was in comprehending how to write a paragraph and essay. The program taught her how to format her paragraphs and how to put it together in a logical order."

“It was such a pleasure to work with all the tutors from Beyond Basics. I am grateful for them and for the Cunnington’s support in bringing the program to our school,” said Henry Wells III. "Today we celebrate every student who graduated. We have seen a lot of growth and confidence building. It was designed to increase literacy but it did so much more, teaching about relationships, art appreciation and broadening their experience, opening up a whole new world of possibility for them.”

About Beyond Basics

Beyond Basics is a 501(c)(3) literacy nonprofit dedicated to one-on-one reading intervention and holistic literacy enrichment programs for students and families in Metropolitan Detroit. Our proven methods have unlocked the miracle and power of reading and opened a whole new world and future to those who need it most. We developed this model by partnering with principals and schools in Detroit since 2002, to work with children who were farthest behind to get them reading at grade level. Our holistic literacy programming also engages mentors, art and writing to help students in vulnerable communities learn to read. This intervention has transformed thousands of lives.


About Westside Christian Academy

Westside Christian Academy is a beacon of hope in Detroit by providing children a holistic, Christ-centered education in a loving community. We serve children from Pre-K to Grade 12. Founded in 1994, Westside Christian Academy is located on the western edge of Detroit, Michigan. Westside is led by Mr. Henry Wells (Campus Principal), along with a board of directors that is dedicated to excellence. Graduates of Westside can be found in colleges and universities, the military, and careers like business, education, ministry and law enforcement.


For Information contact: Nancy Thompson nancy.uptownpr@gmail.com


Source: Westside Christian Academy