Fort Worth City Council Honors Stop Six Summer Scholars
‘Our Stop Six Summer Scholars are on the track to be
readers and leaders.’
First-, second- and third-graders who participated in the Fort Worth Literacy Partnership’s Stop Six Summer Scholars pilot program were honored by the City Council on Aug. 29, 2017 during a ceremony featuring remarks by leaders of the Summer Learning Collaborative Action Network and Mayor Betsy Price.
About 60 members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Fort Worth participated in the six-week camp June 12-July 28. Girls Inc. provided a nationally-endorsed curriculum for the program’s literacy block and trained staff to lead the literacy sessions. The goal of the pilot program was to model best practices for helping children maintain or gain literacy skills over the summer, a time when children are at risk of losing up to two months or more of reading skills.
Action Network co-chairs Dr. Gleniece Robinson, Fort Worth Library Director, and LaToya Stewart, United Way of Tarrant County’s vice president for community development, briefed City Council members on 2017 efforts to advance early childhood literacy. Here’s what they had to say:
[ Dr. Robinson ]
In September 2016, the Fort Worth Literacy Partnership was launched with Mayor Price, Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Kent P. Scribner and business leader Matt Rose leading the charge, along with several other folks in the community. They chose Kristin Sullivan, who is in the audience, as executive director.
I now call this literacy thing a movement. Nowhere have I gone recently in the community where folks didn’t know about the 100×2025 – meaning that by 2025, 100 percent of the students in third grade will be reading – not we hope – will be reading at or above grade level. That is quite awesome, quite amazing.
Therefore, one strategy of the Literacy Partnership focused on summer learning to address summer slide, specifically the charge was that every city program and as many community programs as possible would have a literacy component.
While we know we cannot solve the city’s literacy challenge in just three months out of a year, we do know that research indicates that access to high-quality summer learning is a core strategy to disrupt learning loss and place children on a path to reading proficiency.
To that end, several city departments along with more than 30 community organizations joined forces to assure that quality summer learning was available to our children across our city by offering more than 200 programs, 46 of those in the Stop Six area, excluding the Summer Scholars Pilot Program.
Along with us was the faith community partnering directly to address summer slide. Take a look at the back of the Worth Reading brochure I have provided, and you can see a list of all the community organizations and city departments involved in the effort this summer.
[ Ms. Stewart ]
Thank you, and good evening.
The goal of the Stop Six Summer Scholars pilot was really multi-prong.
First, we wanted to make sure that our most vulnerable children had access to a high-quality literacy program during the summer
Secondly, we wanted to better understand what resources, training and technical assistance are needed when a traditional summer camp is infused with a strong literacy component for future replication. What we did was really establish a “learning lab” that allowed us to look at best practices and answer the questions, ‘Can it be done?’ and ‘What is the recipe for success?’
So imagine this: A couple of hundred children enjoying a great summer at the Boys & Girls Club, perhaps one of the few places they can go for a meal, safety and a good time. In addition to all of the activities that the club offers, there is now a new Girls Inc. literacy program available specifically for new readers and struggling readers.
With that in mind, I would like to acknowledge the great work and partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Fort Worth and Girls Inc. of Tarrant County, who agreed to join forces with us for this pilot. Jennifer Limas and Daphne Barlow-Stigliano, the CEOs of Girls Inc. and Boys & Girls Clubs, respectively, are here with us this evening. I would like to recognize them and their staff – Matt Sinclair, J.D. Newsom and Becky Balarin.
They did a tremendous job planning and implementing what turned out to be a six-week the pilot working with students from Maude Logan, M.M. Walton and Sunrise-McMillan elementary schools using an evidence-based curriculum and evaluation that was approved by Fort Worth ISD.
The program included several components that we consider best practices, according to research: transportation, meals, small group instruction and enrichment activities.
After our pilot, we think we should add one more “must have” to the national best practices list: That would be an all-important visit from Clifford the Red Dog and Mayor Price. That really was the secret sauce for our success.
So what did we accomplish?
A total of 60 rising first, second and third-graders completed the Summer Scholars program each receiving 24 hours of intensive literacy support).
To my understanding, some of the students were recruited after they saw others participating and said: “How do I get in there? I want to learn how to read.”
Collectively, the students received more than 240 books, including a certificate and books from the Fort Worth Literacy Partnership, through the Summer Learning CAN.
In terms of literacy improvement, Fort Worth ISD is currently evaluating the data and will report Lexile scores to us next month.
Our goal is for 80 percent of the students at least to have either maintained or increased their literacy skills.
What’s next for the Summer Learning Collaborative Action Network?
We understand that we cannot “pilot our way” into 100×25. As we think about 2018 and summer 2019, we are exploring a systems approach that will include a focus on broader parent engagement and a citywide literacy training for adults who work with children. High quality instruction during the summer is just as important as high quality during the academic year.
We are also developing a messaging document for best practices that can be shared with providers and funders. I’m pleased to announce that United Way’s Education Council just agreed to include some of those best practices in our next summer grant application forms to encourage the continuation of this work.
I will close with this: Harry S. Truman said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”
So our Stop Six Summer Scholars are on the track to be readers and leaders. I want those who could be with us to please stand and be recognized by the Fort Worth Mayor and City Council.