MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Sometimes finding the key to unlock a problem can be a big challenge, especially when it involves education. But based on recent student performance, it appears that BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee and its adopted school, Locke Elementary, have found the perfect fit.

Since September of 2002, more than a dozen BlueCross employees have volunteered as tutors in the “Un-Locke the Key to Education” project at Locke Elementary School.

The project focuses on at-risk students in need of extended and individualized assistance in reading and comprehension skills.

“The BlueCross volunteers have helped our students make significant progress, especially on standardized test scores,” said Nancy Sissman, principal at Locke Elementary School. “But just the fact that these children will be able to move on with their classmates is significant in itself, and it may have an impact on the rest of their lives that is not quantifiable.”

According to school records, each of the four students receiving help during the 2002-2003 school year improved their academic performance. Standardized test scores improved by a range of .8 to 1.4 points and corresponding grades went from D’s and F’s to B’s and C’s.

"Locke Elementary is one of 22 Memphis schools designated for corrective action by the No Child Left Behind Act,” said Calvin Anderson, vice president of federal and community relations for BlueCross. “Our schools are in need of support from the entire community—parents, grandparents, churches, charitable organizations, and businesses like BlueCross. We plan on expanding our efforts and encourage others to get involved.”

The “Un-Locke the Key to Education” tutoring project continues through April 2004. For more information on BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee outreach efforts contact Kathy Bingham, community relations manager, at (901) 544-2113.

About BlueCross

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's mission is to provide its customers and communities with peace of mind through affordable solutions for health and healing, life and living. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on reinventing the health plan for its 3 million members in Tennessee and across the country. Through its integrated health management approach, BlueCross provides patient-centric products and services that drive health improvement and positively impact health care quality and value. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company's website at www.bcbst.com.