About 150 members of the Salesmanship Club participate in the volunteer reading program at Momentous Institute
By Yezmin Thomas
A few weeks ago, our Fort Worth Literacy Partnership team had an opportunity to visit Momentous Institute in Oak Cliff, Dallas. What a terrific experience!
The private school is supported by the Salesmanship Club of Dallas through proceeds from the annual AT&T Byron Nelson PGA tournament. It focuses in the emotional and academic well-being of students from Pre-K through fifth grade, 94 percent of whom are Hispanic and 84 percent of whom are economically disadvantaged.
There are no discipline charts in the classrooms. Instead, children learn how different parts of their brain and emotions influence behavior. Rather than moving a marker on a discipline chart, children who are upset or disruptive instead are encouraged to take a few minutes in the brain-meditation center to regulate their behavior.
Momentous values parent engagement, so much that an entire work room is dedicated to them. Parents design classes for each other and spend time on campus to work on crafts and school projects. The day we visited the school, a mother was painting a huge mural in preparation for their Cinco de Mayo celebration and parade.
Volunteer readers are key to the learning experience at Momentous Institute. Every Thursday an army of about 150 members of the Salesmanship Club come in to read with children. The volunteers often work with the same student year after year building a relationship.
Momentous Institute is concluding a three-year project with the Fort Worth ISD this month that focused on teaching pre-kindergarten and kindergarten teachers and campus leaders from Maude Logan, John T. White, Maudrie Walton and Milton Kirkpatrick elementary schools how to integrate social-emotional skills in their classroom instruction. The project introduced an assessment tool to measure social skills improvement and positive change in classroom climate.
Fort Worth Literacy Partnership will follow the Momentous findings closely toward our mission of lifting up best practices and spreading what works so that all children are socially and emotionally prepared to succeed in school.