Kathleen Gunn ’04: The Robin Hood Foundation
Last summer, Kathleen Gunn faced a monumental project: improving childhood literacy. She received a CORPS Fellowship to work with the Robin Hood Foundation, a grant-making organization that concentrates on poverty prevention in New York City through programs in early childhood, education, job training, and basic survival.
As project manager for Camp Book-a-Week, a summer program that provides reading instruction to help students meet third-grade reading standards, Gunn collaborated with Robin Hood staff and outside experts to develop a curriculum for reading instruction. “Having taught third grade in the South Bronx for two years, I was familiar with the needs of the students and different remedial instruction that could be helpful to meet those needs,” she says. “This experience allowed me to contribute immediately and in a meaningful way on the curriculum development and daily scheduling for the program.”
Working at Public School 19 in Corona, Queens, Gunn tracked the progress of students and staff and coordinated program logistics. She put her management skills to good use, overseeing the nine-person staff and providing necessary structure and guidance to counselors who did not have professional prior work experience.
Gunn analyzed the success of the program and made recommendations for curriculum development, training, staffing, student selection, funding, and evaluation metrics. As programming is rolled out in other schools, her model will serve as a decision-making tool in analyzing future resource allocation and implementation decisions. “It was extremely satisfying to see a project from start to finish and to have direct contact with the recipients of the program – the children,” she says.