An individual’s ability to acquire knowledge is usually contingent on one simple fact: whether or not he or she is literate. Without the ability to read and write with ease, even the simplest of concepts can remain stubbornly—and maddeningly—out of reach. That’s why HISD has made this critically important topic the focus of its annual Summer Leadership Institute.
The Institute got started this year on June 17 at the NRG Center, and the district’s Literacy By 3 movement—which aims to have all students reading at or above grade level by the end of third grade—was in the spotlight.
“You have to be able to read to do the science. You have to be able to read to do the math. You have to be able to read to do the social studies,” explained Grady Middle School Principal Gretchen Kasper-Hoffman. “So it really is the basis for all the other curriculums.”
Superintendent of Schools Terry Grier noted that the debate over what works and what doesn’t work when teaching reading is “nothing new,” but that one fact remains clear: “You cannot master other essential academic skills—math, science, foreign language, computers, and more—if you are not literate.”
Attendees of the three-day Institute, who serve in leadership roles at their campuses, are expected to start assembling their own leadership teams and creating implementation plans for when they return to their schools.
“The work ahead of us is massive and it is complex,” said Dr. Grier. “But it must be done…and we are counting on you to help lead it.”