#MSBF2015: Literacy Summit

Last week, several MTR Staff and Teachers attended the Literacy Summit presented by Literacy Mid-South in conjunction with the Mid-South Book Festival. The purpose of the summit was to bring together “nonprofit and government agencies, community advocates, volunteers and adult learners to network, develop new skills and share promising practices.” There was a wide variety of sessions presented by local, state and national educators. The knowledge shared was helpful and inspiring. Below are some of the key take-aways recorded by MTR Staff.


Photo from Eagle Academy website.

David C. Banks, Eagle Academy

  • Resilience is exemplified in Muhammad Ali. When asked what was going through his head after he got knocked down he said, “To get up.”
  • Our role as teachers is not to “pass judgement” on students, but to “ensure safe passages.”
  • At Eagle Academies, parent meetings occur on Saturdays because that is more convenient for families. The schools provide food for parent gatherings.
  • Parents from each grade have responsibility for a different aspect of school life (field day, awards, etc.)
  • Parents let the school know about community resources they are aware of (scholarship opportunities, etc.).
  • “We are starting at the finish line.” Field trip to Columbia University occurs the first week of school so that students can see, feel, and taste college life from the beginning of high school, and therefore can desire college and work hard to get there.

Photo from Bodine Schools Facebook page.

Josh Clark, Bodine Schools

  • Low literacy is a community epidemic.
    • End of 2014-2015 3rd grade reading in SCS was 73.4% below grade level (87% for ASD)
  • A person would have been more likely to survive the Titanic than be a proficient reader in Memphis public schools!
  • A Language Desert is defined as communities where poor kids are 12-14 months below in reading language.
  • Reading is a Science that took 2,000 years to create, but we expect kids to learn in less than 2,000 days.
  • Reading ends with comprehension.
  • “Not everything that is faced can be changed but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” -James Baldwin
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From from Strive Together website.

Jeff Edmonson, Strive Together

  • Collective Impact goes beyond blaming and talking about the problem.
    • Collective Impact= Data+Experience+Intellect+Passion
  • Avoid a “spray and pray” approach of simply dispersing resources all over the place and praying it works out.
  • Our challenge is that we are program rich but system poor.
  • Collective impact is aligning services, making them readily available. Not creating a new program.
  • Collaboration vs. Collective Impact
    • Convene around a program vs. Work to move outcomes
    • Prove vs. Improve
    • Add to what you do vs. Improve what you do
      • Don’t add to what you do, learn how to do what you do better.
    • Advocate for ideas vs. Advocate for what works
  • Data is a flashlight to provide insight for improvement.
  • 4 Lessons on Collective Impact
    • Build a culture of continual improvement (how my actions connect to the outcome
    • Staff matter
    • Collective Impact depends on individual and organizational action
      • With more data on what works you can influence the money that is being invested in you
    • Structure Action
      • Key principles:
        • Eliminate disparities
        • Leverage resources
        • Bring data to the community
        • Give the work back to the group
  • When people make excuses for failure , show them others who are in a similar situation who still succeed.