The Reading Recovery Council of North America + Rhythm

RRCNA's partnership with Rhythm has helped them envision new possibilities for the future. They've halved their tech costs for an online event, saved 20 hours of labor a week, and significantly increased their member engagement through Rhythm's Higher Logic integration. The best part? Since Rhythm makes day-to-day processes easier, the team at RRCNA can focus on more important stuff - like serving their members and making a positive, lasting impact.

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It’s great to know that I have a voice and the Rhythm team is listening to me. They value the feedback. It shows that they actually want the product to work well for their customers.”

Laura VanTress

Director of Information Systems at RRCNA


The configurable processes and automation options offered within Rhythm have streamlined my workload so I can help out with other projects I didn't have time for before."

Carol Lang

Products and Membership Manager at RRCNA

Quick Facts




Corporate Partners


Staff Members


Reduction in tech costs for virtually event hosting

20 hours/week

Number of staff hours saved by newly automated processes


Increase in member engagement through the Higher Logic integration

The Reading Recovery Council can be traced back to New Zealand in 1966. Marie Clay had just completed her dissertation on using an underperforming child’s natural strengths to help them progress in their reading and writing skills. Marie's methodology was continuously proven to be successful, and in 1984, she brought her research to North America. The research spurred excitement among educators and national leadership, ultimately launching a successful Reading Recovery effort in North America for the past several decades.

Today, RRCNA is a community. They support reading-recovery trained teachers who work with children performing below the standard reading level in their first-grade year. Teachers work with students for a predetermined amount of time to help them improve their reading abilities. Using pillars of the methodology Marie Clay developed back in 1966, the Reading Recovery Council of North America ensures that children have access to a literate, productive, and empowered future. 


The Problem We Needed to Solve

When Billy Molasso joined RRCNA as the Executive Director in 2019, he immediately knew the tech stack needed a major upgrade. RRCNA’s old AMS was extremely customized, and while some features worked, many did not. The customizations weren’t implemented well, so different pieces of the system didn’t work together seamlessly. For example, the Registration module didn’t sync with the Membership module - so the team had to manually enter new memberships. Disconnects like this happened in various capacities throughout the system, creating tedious and inefficient processes.

"When I joined RRCNA, I knew that our tech was lightyears behind what it needed to be to serve our members well. The member portal was archaic and our data was completely unreliable, resulting in a poor experience for the end-user. Our upgrade to Rhythm means we have a modern, intuitive, and self-service portal for members. It also means we have accurate data that we can use to further improve the member experience." - Billy Molasso, Executive Director at RRCNA

Aside from that, the old system had a
very big problem with data. When staff members would pull a report, they’d get a different result every time. The information was inconsistent, leaving a trail of confusion and inefficiency in its wake. 

And finally, the portal experience was just too outdated. It didn’t offer an intuitive or easy experience for members, and it needed to be modernized.



RRCNA knew they needed a change. They decided on Rhythm after hearing positive reviews from other associations, but that was just the first step. Then came implementation. That’s when Laura VanTress joined the team. Laura acted as a liaison between RRCNA and Rhythm, meeting with team members to understand what they were trying to do, and what goal they wanted to achieve. Then, she would interpret that information to the implementation team and learn how to best accomplish the desired outcome through Rhythm.

“Daryl and I spent so much time talking through how to accommodate or update our processes. Most database companies don’t want to talk to you - they don’t really care. Daryl would listen to what we were trying to accomplish and why, and then we’d actually see it incorporated into the product.” - Laura VanTress, Director of Information Systems at RRCNA

Laura did a stellar job understanding all the former processes and requirements and communicating with the Rhythm team to best configure those processes in the platform. Today, Laura configures all RRCNA’s systems to work synchronously, troubleshoots issues, optimizes processes, and ensures her team members have the resources they need to succeed. 


Continual Customer Support

Great service didn’t end after implementation. Instead, RRCNA was introduced to Rhythm’s support team, who’s always ready to lend a hand or help solve a problem. When Laura asks for specific documentation on a process, the support team will create resources to help her accomplish those goals. 

Recently, RRCNA’s annual conference was changed from in-person to virtual. When that decision was made, the ticket price changed and RRCNA needed to give existing registrants the option to leave the difference as a credit or donate it. Rhythm’s support team was able to put together documentation on processes like invoice modifications, refunds, and creating credits to help Laura.

RRCNA has been a partner with Rhythm since the early days, which means their input has been invaluable as the product has been built. As a part of Rhythm’s Product Council, RRCNA gets early access to new features and has the opportunity to suggest changes. Customers are always welcome to share their ideas and request features - many current features come from these strokes of genius. 

For Laura, the most important piece of the support experience is the communication between customers and Rhythm. Even if someone submits a ticket that isn’t included in the next development sprint, Rhythm’s team will reach out regularly to give a status update.

“It’s great to know that you have a voice and the Rhythm team listens to you. They value the feedback. It shows that they actually want the product to work well for the customer.” - Laura VanTress, Director of Information Systems at RRCNA

The team at RRCNA used to have dozens of small issues with their legacy system that affected them daily. They’d submit support tickets or call in, but the updates were never made. With Rhythm, new features and product enhancements are released consistently. Even small changes make a big difference in their everyday lives. While most providers are locked into an interconnected system that can make even small updates painful, Rhythm uses serverless cloud-native technology to innovate at a secure and rapid clip.

“Early on, we learned that we needed to build a system flexible enough to change. For example, Rhythm’s Membership app is “done,” but it’s not really done. We’ll always listen to customer feedback and make updates to valid requests that will improve someone’s experience.” - Daryl Edwards, Director of Product at Rhythm


Big Wins for RRCNA

When all is said and done, your AMS provider should be helping you meet your goals and envision new possibilities for the future. It shouldn’t be holding you back. RRCNA has experienced significant time savings since their switch to Rhythm, opening up resources to spend time on other projects. Registrations and memberships are seamlessly connected with Rhythm, creating an efficient self-service experience for members that drastically cuts down on time spent manually processing memberships. Normally RRCNA hires an additional person for 20 hours a week to do manual data entry during their busy season. Because of the reduction in manual labor required, they don’t plan to hire that additional person moving forward. 

"The configurable processes and automation options offered within Rhythm have made it much easier to do my job. Instead of spending hours doing manual data entry and reconciliation, I'm able to streamline my workload and help out with other projects I didn't have time for before." - Carol Lang, Products and Membership Manager at RRCNA

Another win for Laura has been Rhythm’s Query Builder. Now, she can create custom queries from information stored in their database and trust that it is both accurate and complete. She regularly pulls registration lists, member lists, committee lists, and certification application lists - as well as email marketing lists based on certain criteria. Queries help RRCNA’s team do more informed and efficient work.

The Reading Recovery Council of North America started their journey with a desire to upgrade their tech and modernize the member experience. The truth is, a seamless interface isn’t commonplace in the association space. They wanted to turn the tables here and manage this for people so it’s easy for them to get their membership benefits. Social logins make the login process easier than calling in with a 10-digit membership number. 

And finally, RRCNA was able to use Rhythm’s Higher Logic integration to launch an online community for their members to connect and learn. Since Rhythm can import Higher Logic datasets, RRCNA can conduct a deeper analysis on what engages people and offers their members the most value. 


What's on the Horizon?

The Reading Recovery Council of North America has big plans for continuing to impact the lives of children all over the continent, but they also face some unique challenges in achieving their goals. For one, countless programs address reading. With so many varied opinions, misinformation spreads quickly. Right now, RRCNA is focused on educating a broader audience and proving the success of its program. They’re doing this by sharing their story through social media, digital ads, and advocacy efforts. Ultimately, the goal is to grow RRCNA’s reach even further.

With Rhythm, RRCNA can better collect and store information on the schools they serve. There are federal databases that track demographic information, percentage of students that receive free or reduced lunches, urban vs. rural environments, etc. This information allows RRCNA to say, “This is who we serve. This is where our programs are needed.” Being able to import and pull queries on this data allows the team at RRCNA to see where their programs are having the biggest impact, informing decisions about next steps for their organization.