STORY BY KACIE FREDERICK. PHOTOS BY CAROL VIG.
Third grade is a critical year for a student’s lifelong success. By the end of third grade, children reading on grade level are three times more likely to graduate from high school, but only about 40 percent of students in Dallas ISD are currently meeting this benchmark. Catch Up & Read (CAR) is an organization whose mission is to serve at-risk early elementary school students by ensuring that they are reading on grade level, and Carol Pierce Goglia is the new leader of CAR’s effort.
At the start of the new year, CAR named Carol its new President and CEO. Carol, a Dallas native with a background in philanthropic marketing, is the perfect fit to grow and expand CAR’s efforts in Dallas’ school systems.
“Reading is a foundational skill,” Carol says about CAR’s work in the Dallas community. “Until third grade, children are learning to read. After that, they are reading to learn. Learning to read proficiently is critical before they can graduate from high school, earn a living wage, and break the generational cycle of poverty. Catch Up & Read sets them up for lifelong success.”
Since its founding in 2009 by Catherine LeBlanc, CAR currently serves 20 economically disadvantaged schools in Dallas County. As the first program of its kind, CAR prides itself on being a teacher-based tutoring program. CAR equips teachers with additional resources to best fit the reading needs of their students. Each school embraced by CAR has a lead group of 6 teachers who opt into CAR’s programming, staying up to three days for after-school training and tutoring to benefit their students.
CAR’s current after-school programs hold unique advantages to meet the Dallas school system’s needs through their inclusion of Spanish instruction. CAR has found that by providing reading instruction in a student’s native language first, it is easier to teach students how to read in English afterward. This year CAR is training 150 teachers, leading to an upwards impact of 3,900 1st-3rd grade students who are growing into proficient readers.
“One of our CAR teachers told us that even though she had two master’s degrees, she had not been taught how to properly teach reading until she became a part of our Catch Up & Read cohort,” Carol shares. “She told us CAR training changed her teaching and her life.”
Carol holds an MBA from The University of Texas at Austin and a BA from Washington & Lee University. Before Goglia was approached to lead CAR, she served as the President and Strategic Impact Advisor for United to Learn. Carol says that she has a strong passion and drive to serve the education community as a whole. She also oversaw all the marketing and communications for the Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT). Carol and her team were recognized nationally and locally for their commitment to marketing CFT’s North Texas Giving Day, and won awards such as PR News Marketer of the Year, Dallas-Fort Worth American Marketing Association’s Marketer of the Year, and CNM Connect’s Communicator of the Year.
Under her new leadership, Carol’s main goal for CAR is to grow and meet the needs of the Dallas community. CAR currently has over 15 schools on their waitlist wanting CAR’s services. Building on experience with Dallas ISD schools partnered with United to Learn, Carol is developing a strategic plan for CAR to grow and aid these schools.
“I’m excited to get deeper into the literacy community in Dallas. I can’t wait to see the lightbulb moments with the children,” says Goglia. “With Catch Up & Read’s data-driven approach and by working closely with the district, I’m looking forward to seeing each student grow in their foundational reading skills and become competent readers.”
Catch Up & Read is a teacher-based tutoring program that “catches up” elementary school children to read on grade level by third grade. For more information, please visit https://www.catchupandread.org. To donate or to sponsor a school, visit the link here.