FULTON — The Fulton City School District (FCSD) administrators and community partners have led by example to show that collaboration is the key to success.
It also has afforded the district to remain committed to providing equitable access to literacy materials for students and their families to read and grow together. Thanks to the ongoing partnership with Wisdom Thinkers Network, the district was able to purchase books for families to engage in reading as a connected activity.
Heather Witter, FCSD’s director of literacy and UPK, said students in pre-kindergarten through grade two will receive a few picture books and supplemental learning activities to help younger children sustain and practice early literacy skills. Those primary students will also receive recommended supplies of journal paper or other items to complete related at-home activities.
“It also helps build (at-home) libraries,” she said. “If you can get a brand-new book into kids’ hands, maybe they will read them multiple times too. The biggest thing is just trying to get (students) to read.”
Intermediate students in grades three to six, meanwhile, will receive one copy of “Wish” by Barbara O’Connor for a family read. The book was chosen by school district elementary library media specialists, as it also aligned with the district’s Second Steps program for social-emotional development. Themes include: compassion, emotion management, feelings and friendships. Collectively, the social-emotional, literacy and family engagement components also all tie into the district’s five-year strategic coherence plan.
Books were recently delivered directly to families’ doors. Drivers knocked, or rang a doorbell, and left the materials, which included a suggested reading schedule to carry families through the beginning of May.
A similar literacy offering has been made available for Fulton Junior High School (FJHS) families with seventh- and eighth-grade students in their homes. FJHS families may opt-in to a student/family read with the book, “The Running Back,” by LeRoy Collins.
Books were purchased through Scholastic, Inc.’s Family and Community Engagement program with the funds secured through the help of the Wisdom Thinkers Network. Ralph Singh, CEO of the organization, said his organization was chosen as a partner of the Fetzer Institute, which looked at the network’s work of multicultural wisdom stories and social-emotional growth as a connection to better helping students and their families.
“Shortly after the partnership was announced, the (coronavirus pandemic) hit and I received a call from Fetzer asking if any districts we were working with who were in need, as they might provide some emergency funding,” Singh said. “I was able to share that there is as much poverty in rural America in some of the urban centers and how the rural districts have just as much need.”
Singh’s advocacy for the Fulton City School District was successful. Funds were secured to support the literacy project, as well as some personal care items for students and their families.