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Meet Doneda and David Bailey

Today we’d like to introduce you to Doneda and David Bailey of Noggin Educational Coaching and Noggin Educational Foundation.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Doneda and David. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
David started his teaching career at a Title I school. He was shocked when he was only given 1 ream of paper for the semester to teach 125 students. As an 8th-grade math teacher, this made it very difficult to give homework assignments and other graded work. The lack of resources showed in the grades of his students. He actually had students who had as low as a 19 for a grading period.

His next assignment was at a charter school in Las Colinas with an abundance of resources. It showed in the student’s grades and scores on state exams. We were disheartened by the disparity between the two groups of students. Around that time we started Noggin Educational Coaching and our clients were parents who could afford to invest in their child’s education. We knew that there were so many students who really needed what we offered our private clients but could never afford our services.

We felt strongly that students from low-income communities needed to be given the same educational opportunities and were inspired to start our non-profit, Noggin Educational Foundation. The mission of Noggin Educational Foundation is to close the achievement gap for economically disadvantaged children by providing educational opportunities for students, supporting families, and encouraging excellence and innovation in the classroom.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Regarding Noggin Educational Coaching, I was our only coach for the first several years. This was tough on our family as we had very young children at the time and I was working full-time as a teacher. I was working long hours and driving all over the Metroplex. In time the company began to grow and we brought on additional coaches.

With the foundation, we have been fortunate to have support from the beginning through grassroots fundraising. The first year we had our summer program I thought I would drown though. David and I did all of the lesson planning and activity assembly ourselves for a six-week program and it was a ton of work.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Noggin Educational Coaching and Noggin Educational Foundation – what should we know?
At Noggin, we go beyond traditional tutoring which usually focuses only on subject mastery. We focus on the whole student by helping them develop problem-solving skills, time and resource management, study skills, and effective test-taking strategies. Our goal is to build foundational tools that enable our students to achieve success in school and increase college and career readiness. I’m proud of the success stories our parents share as the students develop stronger study skills, higher grades, and more confidence.

We provide free educational services for students from low-income families. Our organization does this through 4 primary programs: S.P.A.R.K. which stands for Summers Producing Academically Ready Kids. S.P.A.R.K. is our six-week math and English enrichment program with the goal of preventing summer learning loss. We offer fun, hands-on activities that keep our students engaged.

ASPIRE is our academic and career mentoring program for high school students. Students are paired with a mentor from Freshman through Senior year who serves as a resource and accountability to help them achieve their goal of college or technical school attendance. With Homework Heroes we offer after-school homework help at low-income apartment communities. We also provide educational coaching to students. Each student receives 12 one-on-one coaching sessions at home with an experienced classroom teacher.

I’m proud of the teacher who works with us. They’re talented and passionate about what they do. I love to see how quickly students begin to turn around with one-on-one attention. I’m also really proud of the support we get from the people who give to Noggin. Last summer we did an online backpack drive called the #boughtabackpack Challenge. We challenged people to buy a backpack, take a picture with their backpack and post it on social media challenging a few of their friends to do the same. The response was even better than we expected.

We collected enough backpacks to give to the 100 students who participated in S.P.A.R.K. and donated over 200 to students in a local school district. We’re different from other organizations because we only use teachers and student teachers for our classroom and private tutoring programs. We do this because teachers have a unique understanding of the classroom environment and the challenges that students face on a daily basis that volunteers from other fields don’t have.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Our teamwork. We’re very different and have figured out how to make it work for us. David is great at developing our team of coaches, working with students and providing direction with curriculum and programs. My background is in marketing, administration and project management.

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