Representatives of the Houston branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Houston Community College recently toured Lora B. Peck and B.K. Bruce elementary schools to discuss partnerships with the district to promote HISD’s literacy initiative.
Bruce Principal Trealla Epps and two teachers described how partnerships affect student achievement. The educators noted that the United Way of Greater Houston’s partnership with the school has motivated students about reading by pairing first-graders with volunteers who read to them and help them complete literacy exercises.
During the tour of Peck, the group saw a large part of the effort to boost student reading goals by visiting a computer lab where students were using the Istation reading program. Istation is a research-based reading program that is used for assessment of pre-K through high school students. Peck principal Carlotta Brown says the program, which is now used in every HISD school, has been instrumental in helping her reach her goal of getting all students reading above grade level.
“With this new, innovative program, students and teachers will have accurate data at their fingertips regarding their academic progress and areas for improvement,” said HISD Deputy Chief Academic Officer Dr. Julie Baker.
Board of Education trustee Paula Harris mentioned several ways HISD is working to improve its literacy rate, including Superintendent Terry Grier’s goal to provide laptop computers to every student in grades 3-12 for home and school use. Harris also highlighted HISD’s recent nomination for the prestigious Broad Prize for Urban Education, which marks the second consecutive year the district has been nominated.
“We’re very honored to be named again as a finalist for the Broad award,” said Harris. “The panel of researchers looked at several criteria including SAT scores and graduation and dropout rates. As our graduation rates continue to increase, it lets students know if you want to go to college you can go, and HISD will help you get there.”