They want to crack the code.
So on a sweltering Saturday morning at Community Impact Church, education leaders met with parents and community collaborators to figure out what needs to happen to improve the educational, social, and behavioral needs of underperforming elementary students in the Fort Bend Independent School District.
One effort bringing excitement is the Early Literacy Center, located in the Ridgemont Elementary Building, 5353 Ridge Creek Circle. The pilot program is open to Blue Ridge and Ridgegate elementary students and educators want interested parents to complete an application process by Aug. 10 while spaces are available.
Interested parents are a key component.
“I’ve always worked in Title One Schools and I love these kids,” said Megan Boler, literacy interventionist at Blue Ridge Elementary School. “There are so many challenges on a daily basis and so many skilled and talented people who want to help and we have not all united. That is why (the Rev.) David (Sincere) and I want to bridge the gap. Find out what do the families want and how can we bring the community together so they can advocate for themselves and improve the learning environment.”
Boler was one of several FBISD representatives who showed up Saturday at the church ready to roll up their sleeves and fight for the children. The meeting was organized by Sincere, a local minister and education advocate. Sincere sat on the school district’s facilities planning committee and was filled with dismay when he learned that 60 percent of the students in the Willowridge High School feeder pattern are reading below capacity.
He and his wife grew up in the neighborhood and attended Willowridge and he vowed Saturday to rousing the community to get more parental involvement.
“We’re dedicated to knocking on doors and connecting with parent and the community. So I’m here to help bridge the gap,” he said.
Diana Sayavedra, Chief Academic Officer for FBISD, explained that the district is trying new things and “overhauling the curriculum” and looking to create “bi-literate” children meaning students learning dual languages and being able to “read, write and think” in dual languages.
One parent suggested that the district look not only at Spanish-speaking children learning English but English speaking children learning Spanish to give them an edge by being proficient in two languages.
Sayavedra noted that studies show that 95 percent of children can learn to read and the remaining 5 percent can also learn with multiple efforts.
“There are so many needs of 75,000 students. We have not been able to sustain a high level of achievement. But at the core, reading is fundamental. We built the early lit center to crack that code so they are reading at grade level and we will work through high school with innovative programming,” Sayavedra said
To address reading issues early, the district is also looking at all-day programming for 3-5-year-old special education students with learning disabilities. They are also looking at bringing what Sincere called “wrap-around” programs to address the social, behavioral, and education needs of the young ones.
“We are looking at whatever it takes and we are trying to think of everything,” Sayavedra said. “Our intention is to fill those gaps early.”
Pamela Shaw, director of collaborative communities, said she will work with faith-based partners.
“We know the community is rich with those who want to help,” she said.
For more information, contact ELC@fortbendisd.com.