The Passage: A mobile classroom for the community

Brittany Harris is nominated for Pay It Forward for transforming a bus into a mobile classroom called, The Passage. (Image: WTVC)

Summer vacation is coming to an end for students and teachers, but for one special teacher from Chattanooga she's never left the classroom!

It's not your typical classroom. She transformed a mini-bus into a place for learning.

In this week's Pay It Forward, Newschannel 9's Jessica Harthorn shows us how "The Passage" is increasing test scores for at-risk youth.

Teachers tell us many students often fall victim to the "Summer Slide." It's the loss of academic skills and knowledge over the course of summer holidays.

Brittany Harris saw the need to overcome this challenge, especially in neighborhoods where families have few resources.

And that's where we found The Passage parked at East Lake Elementary School.

You can't miss The Passage. It's a bright red bus surrounded by children excited to learn during the summer months.

"They're not getting the academic support that they need, so Brittany is bringing the classroom to their doorsteps," said fellow teacher Rachel Turner.

The Passage was purchased by Teacher Brittany Harris last year and converted into a mobile classroom for the community.

Hanging up are colorful numbers, looking down is a map of the United States, and in the front a fancy flat-screen TV.

Fellow teacher Rachel Turner wanted to surprise Brittany in the middle of mentoring.

"Brittany! Hey! How are you?" surprised Rachel.

"Good!" replied Brittany.

"So on behalf of Newschannel 9 and the McMahan Law Firm, I would like to Pay It Forward to you $100, $200, $300, $400, $500 for everything you guys do. I love The Passage!" said Rachel.

"Thank you so much!" said Brittany.

"You're welcome. You're welcome," said Rachel.

Brittany took us for a tour of The Passage, saying she would use the money to buy more robots, a fun way to encourage kids to explore math and science.

"You can just code it by the arrows and make it go," demonstrated Brittany.

Brittany says she designed The Passage to serve two families at a time. The student, parent and teacher meet on the bus over a six week period.

"I've seen major growth in benchmark scores, with students K through 5th," said Brittany. "It's amazing, because I'm passionate about the work of knowledge."

Do you know someone who deserves $500 cash for doing a good deed? Nominate them here.

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