Family Literacy Center

Educational Opportunities and Social Support for Pregnant and Parenting Teens and Young Adults Under the Age of 26 Seeking a High School Diploma.

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Overview-Family Literacy Center

Founded in 2003, the Family Literacy Center is a State of Vermont approved education provider serving pregnant and parenting high school students under the age of 26. Located at the historic Brook Street School in Barre, the Center is part of Capstone’s Head Start Program. Accessing a full array of services, students not only graduate from high school but are empowered to build happy and healthy lives for themselves and their children.


Family Literacy Center students earn their diploma from their sending high school  Individual and small group work with our licensed teacher allow students to grow academically and personally, building the confidence and skills to reach their fullest potential. Instruction targets the different learning styles and curricula is tailored to support a student’s goals and interests whether they are college bound or considering post-secondary employment. Low student/teacher ratios ensure that students receive the attention they need and deserve.


Weekly prenatal and parenting groups, playgroups and individualized support prepare students to become the best parents they can be. To encourage bonding, infants through four months of age may come to class and families can access the on-site Head Start Center for full-day, full-year care. Staff work with students to solve family barriers such as housing, transportation, and financial hardship.


A fun, caring, non-judgmental community is the cornerstone of the program.  Learning happens best when students feel safe and supported for who they are and where they are at.  Trusting relationships are built intentionally through activities such as celebrations, group meetings, special events, field trips, and community based learning.


Center programming runs four full days each week, Tuesday through Friday, 9:00-2:30.

Academic Approach

About the Brook Street Family Literacy Center

The Brook Street Family Literacy Center has been granted approved education provider status by the Vermont Agency of Education (AOE).  The program is reviewed and monitored regularly by an AOE team.  Our teacher is Vermont-licensed and holds a masters degree in Effective Teaching.  The Center enrolls up to ten pregnant and parenting students at any given time. Part of Capstone Community Action’s Head Start Program, the Family Literacy Center is located at the Brook Street School in Barre.

Education Plans and High School Credit

Participating students remain enrolled in their sending school. Upon student entry to the program, the Family Literacy Center contacts the school’s guidance director who then reviews the student’s transcript and sends the Family Literacy Center notification of the credits needed for graduation and/or progression to the next grade. The Family Literacy Center then drafts an education plan, outlining credits for the year. Upon agreement, plans are signed and become a working document.  When students complete the coursework outlined in the plan, they present a portfolio to the guidance department (with the assistance of the Family Literacy Center teacher).  Individual credits are reviewed and when awarded, the student’s file and school transcript are updated.  If a student chooses to return to the sending school for the following year, plans are made with the guidance department to ensure that credits are in order, that the student is registered for semester courses, and that proper supports are in place to help the student transition.  All sending school classes and activities are open to Family Literacy Center students.  Students in their senior year can participate in all graduation activities including the graduation ceremony. 

Instruction and Assessment

Instruction happens in both small group and individual settings and targets the different learning styles and needs of each student.  Low student/teacher ratios ensure that students receive needed resources and support.  Progress in each core area is documented by student portfolio work, program designed rubrics, and diagnostic assessments. 

Career/Post-Secondary Plans

While at the Center, students engage in career exploration activities.  Depending on the age of a student, job shadowing or interning opportunities can be arranged.  The Center assists students in creating post-secondary plans that include preparing for and entering college, training programs, or the world of work.  While at the Center, students may take a free college course in their junior and senior year that earns them both high school and college credit.


Students at the Family Literacy Center (FLC) are presented an integrated curriculum with different disciplines represented in whole group activities.  The Vermont Standards serve as a framework for expected outcomes with particular emphasis placed on literacy and mathematics, since they cross disciplinary lines and encourage skills that students will need as they create their own families and make far-reaching career decisions.

The Language Arts (reading, writing, vocabulary, speaking and listening skills) are built into every interdisciplinary unit. Journaling is a component of most groups and content of those journals is accessed for periodic reflective essays that are included in each student’s assessment portfolio. Language skills are emphasized with essays and reports, and the reading of novels and other literature.

The math standards are addressed on a more individual level. Each student is assessed upon entry into the program and math content is tailored to his or her needs. Remediation is required if individual assessment reveals gaps in the 6-8 domains, such as ratios and proportional relations, expressions and equations, and functions and geometry. When these standards are met, coursework comes from:  the conceptual categories of numbers and quantity, algebra and functions, geometry, statistics and probability, and modeling.  Student career goals also influence the math content required in the plan.

The curriculum for science stresses enduring knowledge of inquiry: scientific questioning, predicting and hypothesizing, experimental design, and use of data.   The content domains (human body, life science, physical science and universe, earth and environment) rotate from year to year depending on the credit needs of individual students. Depth of knowledge is adjusted depending on students’ grade levels and mastery.

Inquiry is also essential in the history and social studies expectations at the FLC.  Asking questions and developing a research plan around a relevant topic are life-long skills.  Particular areas of study offered each year depend on credit needs. As with science, depth of knowledge is adjusted depending on students’ grade levels and mastery.

Other required credits such as physical education, health, art, and electives are provided at the Center and tailored to the needs and interests of the students.

On-Site Supports

As a Head Start program, Family Literacy Center students have access to the NAEYC-accredited on-site early childcare center, as well as theHead Start home visiting program.  In addition to core academics, students receive prenatal and parenting education services, access to an on-site licensed clinician for weekly counseling, a gardening/nutrition/cooking program, and weekly healthy relationships programming.  


Students have access to a library comprised of both fiction and non-fiction, as well as resource books.  Field trips and field learning that complement subject learning and career exploration are offered throughout the year.  Examples include farm-based nutrition and gardening at Two Rivers Center Farm, environmental science activities in the woods of Goddard College, attending the Women Can Do conference at Vermont Technical College, and trips to the Montshire Museum of Science and Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.   




“The Family Literacy Center helped me find my voice, independence and confidence to go on to college.” 


“I truly don’t even know where to begin. I’m so grateful for all of you and everything that you do and did for me. I’m sure you might have noticed but if it wasn’t for your words of encouragement, tough love, and understanding I would not be where I am today. You guys should know that you have changed my life forever. You have had such a positive impact on my family. I don’t know how I could ever thank you enough. I’m forever grateful for all you put into this program, and into my life. I’ve graduated because of you, and I’m the mother I am today because of the knowledge and experience you have passed down.”


“If it weren’t for the Family Literacy Center I would not have graduated and I would not be the success story I am today. This program has made me realize what I can do if I put my mind to it. “


"The Family Literacy Center helped me to get my diploma, a job, an apartment and helped me with my relationship. Without it, I would still be on state assistance and wouldn’t have my own place."


“I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to the Family Literacy Center.  Our daughter had been participating in the program since September.  With the help of the Center, she did not miss a beat with her junior year school work and goal of attending college.  The Center helped her continue on her path throughout her pregnancy and the birth of our grandson.  At the Center, our daughter has comradery with other young mothers, a wonderful staff that truly cares about the students, their education, their wellbeing, and their ability to care for their children.” 


 “If it weren’t for the Family Literacy Center I think my daughter would not have returned to school, would not have finished, and would not be focused on her future and her career goals. Everyone associated with your organization had a positive, lasting impact on her, and you ought to be as proud of her in terms of your professional success as we are as her parents.”


Raising Readers Curriculum

Download the curriculum

Nurturing Early Brain Connections Curriculum

Download the curriculum

Contact us at the Family Literacy Center

For more information, please contact Stephanie Rubin

by phone at 802-477-5206

by email at

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