We are a collective of progressive educators on a mission: sharing and scaling the program we’ve built for (and with!) our students over the last decade, to inspire relevant reading experiences, heartfelt conversations, and instructional breakthroughs in classrooms across the nation.

We wrote Reading with Relevance because we couldn’t find the tool we needed to effectively teach our students. Most of the young people in our classrooms not only came to us two to four years below their grade level, but also with very real social and emotional struggles that sometimes felt more important than school. We came to believe that meeting students’ social and emotional needs was the key to unlocking their academic potential.

Reading with Relevance leverages student interest in highly engaging social and emotional learning activities to develop crucial academic skills: reading fluency, comprehension, and critical thinking. We turn barriers to learning into the very tools that accelerate literacy.


We are...

community advocates, school supporters, and educational partners dedicated to addressing the academic and emotional needs of our youth.

We see...

social and emotional learning as a powerful tool in improving academic achievement, and blend together academic and emotional development activities in our work to support students.

We believe...

that when students take command of their social and academic learning experiences, they become engaged participants in their own success.

We use...

innovative academic practices to nurture young women and men to better understand, question, and remake the world around them.


• We hold high standards for the experience of children, and therefore ourselves

• We value innovation and creativity

• We value high quality performance, products, and services

• We value mistakes as an opportunity to learn


• We value balance between our personal and professional worlds

• We acknowledge that nurturing our well-being brings out our best work

• We value the organization’s ability to conduct thoughtful strategic planning and to sustain itself financially

• We value authenticity and recognize the dignity of each human being

• We value nurturing relationships such that we feel bonded and connected

• We value practice of affirming and recognizing good work and great effort

• We value the positive power that acknowledging others creates


• We value and welcome diverse voices and multiple perspectives

• We value people engaging and discussing issues that affect them

• We believe that inclusion creates important alliances and opportunities for collaboration

• We know that intentional, thoughtful interactions among students, staff, and leadership create valuable learning opportunities

• We value the planning process, which leads to thoughtful and deliberate action

• We acknowledge the power to create our individual and organizational reality


• We value and encourage the leadership capabilities inherent in those who work for or on behalf of MFE
• We value initiative, commitment, and passion
• We foster a community of leaders who work collaboratively to contribute to our community
• We empower all staff and students to take ownership over their programs and experiences



We have over a dozen years of experience custom-building academic intervention and social/emotional support programs for the highest need students in our community.

Our tutoring program focuses on students’ emotional well-being as a critical strategy for improving their academic achievement, and consistently delivers measurable results in student outcomes. As school partners, we custom-build programs to meet the unique needs of each of our school communities.

Our culturally-relevant, skilled, and passionate Academic Mentors:

•  Provide individualized support to students in the context of their classrooms, filling in the skill and content gaps necessary for them to grasp the classroom instruction offered

•  Offer targeted and intensive one-on-one and small group tutoring to their caseload of students

•  Support the development of positive school and classroom culture through a focus on social and emotional learning


Meet some people who REALLY care.

Lacy Asbill & Elana Metz


Elana Metz and Lacy Asbill co-founded Moving Forward because they were inspired by a vision of an organization run by young people, for young people, and believed that they could leverage the power of a new generation to create fresh solutions to persistent social problems.