The Fulton City School District 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 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.
"I was well aware of poverty levels in the district," Singh said. "We made the case to Fetzer that we were working with two rural districts which have significant needs and are often neglected.They were kind enough to accept my proposal and within weeks we were able to forward checks to help with additional computers, food and clothing and supplies for students and families."
Singh’s advocacy for the Fulton City School District was successful. Funds were secured to not only support the literacy project and aforementioned items, but also hotspots for children and their families who did not have access to WiFi.
Singh also encouraged FCSD students and their families to revisit the network's story, "Help Slow the Spread with Snappy- Learn to Practice Self Control," as it has also related to the current efforts during the global coronavirus pandemic.In response to the governor's call to practice self-control, the Wisdom Thinkers Network has made its story about Snappy and accompanying activities available free of charge to schools, teachers, parents and students.There is also a poster contest, which FCSD students are encoruaged to enter: www.wisdomthinkers.org/snappy