Woodlawn Middle School Goes Beyond the Usual Open House by Adding Year-Round Literacy Project
- September 17, 2009
When it came time for Woodlawn Middle School to plan its annual fall open house for parents, school staff wanted to have one – but also kick it up a notch. So in addition to a separately held open house, Principal Shelly Colvin is revving up the school year with an innovative and interactive literacy program that will engage students and their parents.
Beginning Tuesday, September 29, Woodlawn Middle School will begin a series of four Literacy Family Nights. Each quarter of the school year will center on literacy and student and parent engagement based on a pre-selected book. The first selection that students and parents are encouraged to read is “Whispers from the Bay” by John Tkac. Tkac will be the featured guest at the September 29 event, where he will sign his books. A range of activities also are planned for students and parents to do together.
“Whispers from the Bay” is about a middle school student with a disability who talks to and can communication with dolphins. The boy and the dolphins have several adventures together.
“We are selecting four books this year, and our goal is for three-quarters of our students to have read the book prior to family night,” Colvin said. “The family night activities then will feature the book along with students working and interacting with their parents.”
The project is the brainchild of the School Improvement Plan Committee to help engage parents at the school and promote school-wide reading and family literacy. Committee members, the school librarians and the literacy coach selected the books to be read for the project.
Already excitement is building for the program. Although children will be able to check one of 50 copies of the book out in the school library, if parents are interested in reading it they purchased their own copy. With an open house visit by Borders Books recently, more than 100 books were scooped up by parents and guardians. “Obviously, the parents were paying for the books, and they were willing to put money into a book, which is exciting. The faculty and staff also are reading the books, and we cannot keep them in the library there is such high demand,” Colvin said. “The community’s commitment to this program and to literacy is already evident.”
In addition to the reading of the book and related classroom assignments, cross-curriculum activities and discussions, the school is featuring contests related to the book’s story and rewarding students with prizes – all dealing with reading and literacy. Contests range from essay and poetry contests to art competitions.
“The bottom line is that we have made a commitment to literacy, our students and our parents,” Colvin said. “I think we have a success story on our hands. It will be good for parents to model this behavior for students so they see parents also read.”
The next reading event centers on the book “Slam Dunk,” which is about basketball, and will involve the Louisiana State University’s girl’s basketball team as reading role models.
For more information, contact Colvin at (225) 751-0436.
Principal Brister in Washington, D.C., to Accept McKinley Middle School’s Second Blue Ribbon Award
On Tuesday, November 13, 2012, Principal Herman Brister (pictured, left) and the school’s Teacher of the Year, Lynn Williamson (right), were in Washington, D.C., accepting McKinley Middle Academic Magnet School’s National Blue Ribbon Award from U.S. Department of Education’s Director of National Blue Ribbon Schools Program Aba Kumi (center). The event, which recognized some 314 schools from across the United States, was held at the Omni Hotel. Click herefor story.
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