Gift to Highlander Honors Bryant Wick

The Highlander Institute recently received a $50,000 gift to develop tools that help teachers efficiently implement Response to Intervention (RTI) processes and services in their classrooms and schools.  These tools will directly impact teachers and increase the power of their instruction; however, the ultimate goal behind the tools is to improve the academic trajectories of struggling students.

The anonymous gift was granted by a foundation who felt that the collaborations nurtured by the Highlander Dunn Institute had broad implications for school reform work in the educational community. The gift was made in honor of Bryant Wick.

Born in 1961, K. Bryant Wick was an avid sportsman and philanthropist, serving on his family’s foundation for over 20 years.  He suddenly and tragically died in 2009 from injuries resulting from an automobile accident.

The motivation behind the Highlander Institute gift is to assist parents and teachers of children confronting learning difficulties and disabilities.  But the heartfelt element of this gift is in honor of a wonderful man who loved life, his family, friends, and those young people who deserve a hand in their struggle with learning disabilities.

Bryant was a part of a substantive tradition of philanthropy directed at dyslexia and learning disabilities. He brought to the table a level of passion and spirit that comes only through the adversity and pain one feels when dealing with dyslexia firsthand.  Bryant’s attitude towards life showed a drive to succeed and to persuade and encourage others with learning disabilities that they were indeed remarkable individuals, with skills and insights that would see them clear of any hurdle.

Young people need spiritual mentors like Bryant Wick to sustain them when they can only see their own faults and weaknesses.  Through this gift and the memories of everyone who knew him, Bryant is still with us, supporting all those who work in the field of learning disabilities and reminding us, repeatedly, that we can if we will.

Highlander Dunn Institute and Metryx: Developing one of the "5 coolest apps" in RI

Tech startups have to start up somewhere. Ambitious entrepreneurs, well aware of a smartphone apps’ ease of delivery, set sights high—regional, national and global—right out of the gate. Several such startups are being developed right here in Rhode Island.

One locally grown touch-screen application has already started to increase the rate at which teachers can gather and organize information about their students’ progress.

Education App

“We want students to be taught at the appropriate level,” said Metryx cofounder Shawn Rubin. “The more teachers understand where their students fall in terms of their proficiency with a skill, the better they will be able to prepare their lessons to meet students’ needs.”

But before this new formative assessment tool reaches the hands and fingers of educators in every corner of the U.S., some Ocean State teachers are test-driving the new app on iPads and providing Rubin and cofounder Stephanie Castilla valuable feedback ahead of extensive Beta testing this winter.

“Currently there are 15 teachers piloting the Metryx app at Highlander Charter School,” Rubin said. “We will be expanding to between 30 and 50 by the end of January and then looking to grow our Beta pilot well into the hundreds nationwide by the end of the winter.”

“RI is a great place for startups to get support, funding and traction,” Rubin continued. “Nonprofits like the Highlander-Dunn Institute are always looking for locally-grown ideas that they can bring to the rest of the state.”