We successfully launched our program last summer and recruited a first cohort of kindergarten students from John Wister Elementary. Our students all reside in Germantown and are all students of color with an average household income under $15,000 per household. This group completed their first summer with measurable literacy gains, growth in writing and math, and overall stronger skill sets in critical thinking and creative problem solving. Over the next eight years we plan to welcome a new cohort of kindergarten students, while retaining the previous cohorts each summer.
Our curriculum revolves around a daily literacy block that includes whole group, small group, and individual instruction. Our teachers and reading specialist focus on dynamic ways to instill the love of reading in our students, while also focusing on the recognition of sight words and phonemic awareness. Students’ knowledge of grade level sight words grew from an average of 58% to 71% in 6 weeks. The cohort also grew as writers with increased stamina over time and improved grade appropriate spelling patterns. In addition to literacy, students engaged in math centers 3-4 times a week with a focus on shapes and patterns, number sense, and counting.