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Honoring the Life of Dorothy Rich

MegaSkills founder, advocate for parental involvement, dies at 77

By Kevin Hart

Tuesday, October 27, 2009 -- Dorothy Rich, the renowned author of the MegaSkills educational program and a tireless advocate for increasing parental involvement in schools, died October 25 after a battle with cancer. She was 77.

Rich, the daughter of Polish immigrants, began her career as a teacher in New York and Virginia. She was struck by the way in which many schools discouraged the involvement of parents in their children's educations, and became determined to influence change.

With the encouragement of the National Education Association, she wrote the famed MegaSkills program in 1988, which provided simple but effective exercises that could be used in the home and the classroom to improve student learning. The MegaSkills program, now in its fifth edition, has been used by more than 4,000 schools and has sold 300,000 copies worldwide. It has been proven to boost student achievement and improve discipline.

NEA had a long relationship with Rich, and once housed the Home and School Institute, which Rich founded as a way to encourage greater parental involvement in student education.

Rich was a former member of the National Assessment Governing Board and served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Education, which awarded her with the "A+ for Breaking the Mold Award." Her work was featured in the Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Good Morning America, The Today Show, Education Week, and Reader's Digest.

Rich is survived by her husband, two daughters and two grandsons.

On her Web site for Dorothy Rich Associates, Rich wrote about the type of future she wished for her grandchildren and for all students.

"My hope for my grandsons and for all children is that they see the world as full of possibilities, that they are eager and curious," she wrote. "That when they do fall down and are disappointed that they get back up and keep going. I wish for them a strong education and cultural background that enables them to have the inner tools they need to move forward."


Watch a video on the 20th anniversary of MegaSkills