Photo album: Bridging the Gap Literacy Forum
Spring ISD Board Members Rhonda Newhouse, left, and Justine Durant welcome KYOK radio host AJ Jones as he prepares to moderate the Bridging the Gap Literacy Forum at Spring High School.
HOUSTON – Nov. 3, 2017 – Trustees from five school districts across the area joined together Thursday night at Spring High School to share strategies on how to address a literacy crisis that threatens to undermine the success of students and families.
“This is a conversation we have to have,” said Spring ISD Trustee Justine Durant, who helped organize the event, which was hosted by Omicron Tau Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Called Bridging the Gap, the event drew more than 50 people, including Spring ISD Superintendent Rodney Watson, school administrators, community members, parents and a director from State Rep. Valoree Swanson’s district.
The Spring High School JROTC opened the event with the presentation of colors and the Spring High School Choir provided entertainment.
Over the course of an hour, trustees discussed different approaches to tackling the literacy problem, from establishing free libraries outside of schools or in barbershops, options that Spring ISD has implemented, to setting up summer camps.
“We want to improve reading levels and decrease the summer slide,” said Darcy Mingoia, the president of the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District. “We’ve seen a lot of success with the camps.”
Spring ISD Trustee Chris Bell discussed the district’s new literacy initiative, Literacy Applied, which puts an emphasis on reading across all content areas and dedicates a specific amount of instruction time to literacy-related activities each day. He also highlighted specific literacy events, including the district’s Winter Wonderland held annually in December, where each child is given a book to take home.
“We can always do more,” Bell said.
The view was shared by all participants, including Steve Szymczak, Klein ISD trustee. “We have serious issues that need to be addressed,” he said. “We have our work cut out for us.”
Other panel participants on Thursday included Nancy Morrison and Charles Cunningham from Humble ISD. Also attending from Spring ISD were Trustees Deborah Jensen, Donald Davis, Rhonda Newhouse and Trustee-elect Winford Adams.