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International House Launches Rising Up



Autumn Weil, Executive Director

Email: Cell: 980.272.8465

International House Launches Rising Up

IH awarded $225,000 Grant from The Gambrell Foundation

Charlotte, NC., October 12, 2021 Upon learning that less than 5% of CMS enrolled English Language Learners (Ells) in 3rd - 8th grade tested College and Career Ready on EOGs in 2021, International House began evaluating what they could do to stand in the gap.

With a twelve-year history of working with Ells through their Rising Readers program, International House knew their methodology worked. Rising Readers, a summer reading program for rising 1st - 3rd grade Ells utilizes small literacy groups consisting of one teacher with four students resulting in a 95% improvement rate.

With CMS confirming that there are 1850 3rd – 5th grade Ells who cannot read, International House launched a 10-week pilot program, Rising Up, at Briarwood Academy enrolling 50 3rd – 5th graders along with their younger siblings. During this afterschool program, students are provided tutoring by reading specialist they know and trust, and in an environment that they are familiar. They simply stay after school for the Rising Up Club where they engage in fun learning activities designed to increase their foundational literacy skills. Each child earns opportunities for themselves and their family through participation, not only in the afterschool program, but also by completing activities with their family at home, such as reading to younger siblings.

International House will scale up this program in January 2022, in partnership with ReadCLT, and through a $225,000 multi-year grant from The Gambrell Foundation. “We are grateful to The Gambrell Foundation for investing in these youth through Rising Up. There is a lot of focus on rising K-3rd graders, but very little enrolled 3rd – 5th graders, and we have to remember that today’s 5th graders were 3rd graders who were sent home in March 2020 during the first surge of COVID-19,” explains Autumn Weil, Executive Director of International House.

In March of 2020, all CMS enrolled students were sent home because of the pandemic. Despite four months of school remaining, virtual enrollment for the rest of the school year was optional. Summer learning opportunities were canceled. The following year (2020-2021) virtual learning was the norm, which led to dismal test scores and record-breaking chronic absenteeism, especially among Ells. The result of the last two years has been devastating for those that at the time were enrolled in second and third grades. “These children did not have the opportunity to gain the foundational literacy skills needed for school success, especially those living in households where English is not spoken and technology was not available,” stated Julia Bulinska, Director of Education and Workforce Development for International House.

International House will seek to work with 200 youth in the second half of the school year, and nearly 400 over the summer. Both Rising Readers and Rising Up are funded through private foundations and individual donors.

About International House of Metrolina:

International House is a nonprofit dedicated to promoting international understanding and helping immigrants integrate into our community. Our hands-on programs help immigrants succeed in this region while helping residents and businesses connect with people and cultures from around the world. You can learn more about International House at


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