During the school year, Genisys Credit Union and Herrington Elementary School’s kindergarten and first grade classes kicked off a four year Reading Buddy program. Employees from Genisys Corporate Office became a “Reading Buddy” volunteer for a one hour time period two times a week. Each month, the students received their own personal book to read to their buddy to prepare for statewide standardized testing that takes place at the end of their third grade year.
“Pontiac School District has an excellent partner in Genisys Credit Union,” said Kelley Williams, Superintendent of Pontiac School District. “The classroom supports they provide are helping us better to prepare our students to reach Michigan’s PA306 reading benchmarks.”
In 2016, Michigan passed a law that requires third graders, beginning with those entering that grade for the 2019-20 school year, to be held back a grade if they’re a grade level or more behind in reading. Currently, Michigan ranks 41st among U.S. states in fourth grade reading scores (Nations Report Card), with only 46% of students proficient at a third grade reading level.
The goal of the Reading Buddy program is for Genisys employees to follow the kindergarten and first grade students through third grade to encourage them to read proficiently at a third grade level before the end of their third grade year before statewide testing. To track progress, the students are tested in October and again in March throughout the four years.
To celebrate the success of the first year an assembly was held in March, which is National Reading Month, where each student received a special “I Did It!” t-shirt and enjoyed the day with various activities.
“We truly enjoy sponsoring events that impact student’s lives, both present and future,” said President / CEO Jackie Buchanan. “Being able to support the communities we serve is an important part of what makes Genisys, Genisys.”
The reading initiative is a part of Genisys Credit Union’s “Making a Difference” Campaign. These campaigns aim to support and serve communities across Michigan, allowing the credit union to give back to the communities who have helped Genisys become one of the largest credit unions in the state of Michigan.