Community Learning Center students graduate from the program.

Community Learning Center

The Community Learning Center (CLC) is a free, after school reading program for first and second graders in New York City public schools that was started in 2007 by Lower Division Director Donna Logue and is now co-directed by Reading Specialist Kristi Evans and Reading Chair Sloan Shapiro. Our partner local public schools, PS 166 and PS 84, help identify kindergarten students who are at risk of reading failure and then refer them to Gaynor to begin the program as first graders.

During an academic year, students meet for one hour, twice a week to gain valuable reading instruction from Gaynor staff. Lessons occur in small groups and teachers draw on their extensive experience with the evidence-based Orton-Gillingham approach, directly supplementing the instruction students receive in their regular classrooms.

In the fall of 2023, Gaynor also piloted a 15-week program to train Kindergarten through second grade teachers at PS 84 in the same methods that their CLC students are learning. The goals of this professional development are to train teachers in both the science of reading and improve their phonics-based instruction as well as begin to develop a more holistic environment for our CLC students. The intended outcome is that there will be synergies between what CLC students learn at Gaynor and the way their teachers provide instruction on a daily basis. 

The CLC provides a boost to the students’ regular program, which can often get them back on grade level and simultaneously increase their self-esteem. CLC teachers are skilled at creating fun, engaging, yet instructional lessons, evidenced not only by the students’ increased reading skills, but also by the big hugs teachers receive when students enter our lobby each week.

Remarkably, nearly 100% of the students in the CLC graduate the program reading at or above their grade level. The program has expanded from a group of 10 children to include more than 25 children per academic year. Over its sixteen year history, the CLC has put nearly 200 public school students on the path to reading success.

Thanks to the generosity of our community, the CLC remains free to students in the program. Donations to the Annual Fund cover the cost of operation of the CLC which include subsidizing stipends for teachers, snacks, supplies, and a new book each student receives at the end of the year.