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Awards & Recognition

Talk/Read/Succeed! makes national news

Talk/Read/Succeed! makes national news

Talk/Read/Succeed!, the family-based literacy program that unites two Springfield Housing Authority Developments and two city schools, is featured as the cover story in the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials Journal.

The 10-page article, entitled ‘Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage for Public Housing Residents,’ gives a broad overview along with many specifics of the program that is now in its fourth year. T/R/S! unites Robinson Gardens and John Sullivan family developments with Dorman and Boland elementary schools.

Modeled after the acclaimed Harlem Children’s Zone in New York City, the program unites more than two dozen city agencies and organizations in a quest to boost reading skills among the city’s youngest residents. Key partners are the SHA, the Springfield School Department, the Springfield Education Association, the United Way of Pioneer Valley, the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation, the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County, the Behavioral Health Network and the Hasbro Summer Learning Imitative.

Children at SHA's Sullivan Apartments enjoy a meal at the annual T/R/S! back-to-school celebration.

Children at SHA’s Sullivan Apartments enjoy a meal at the annual T/R/S! back-to-school celebration.

The program has shown progress in improving literacy in homes, with entire families involved in the effort, and in schools, where participating children have risen on standardized reading and language tests at higher rates than their peers, especially those who have attended the summer learning program.

The article was a joint effort by co-authors SHA Executive Director William H. Abrashkin, Davis Foundation Project Director Sally C. Fuller, REB Director of Literacy Maura Geary and SHA Communications Manager Mary Ellen Lowney. The team expressed pleasure at having their work published.

“The NAHRO Journal article captures the concept, founding, and best-practices operations of T/R/S! and publicizes them to a national audience,” Abrashkin said. “We hope that this will not only help T/R/S! to access support for its work but also encourage others in similar circumstances to learn and use this approach.”

The NAHRO Journal is published quarterly and distributed nationally to housing authority officials and employees around the country.

Journal Managing Editor Sylvia Gimenez said the T/R/S! story was a perfect fit for the national magazine.

“This account of the Talk/Read/Succeed! program works well as both a blueprint and a success story. I look forward to reading more about the initiative,” Gimenez said.

Dorman Elementary School pupils Kyanna Marin and Danielys Martinez-Colon enjoying a day at the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, as part of the T/R/S! Hasbro Summer Learning Initiative. This photo is the cover of the NAHRO Journal.

Dorman Elementary School pupils Kyanna Marin and Danielys Martinez-Colon enjoying a day at the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, as part of the T/R/S! Hasbro Summer Learning Initiative. This photo is on the cover of the NAHRO Journal.

The T/R/S! article describes the struggles facing both the city and the School Department as they work with families living in poverty, and the realization that education plays a key role in boosting economic health for all. To that end, T/R/S! founders collaborated for an approach that answered the specific needs of participating families, with family education and counseling brought right to the developments and their feeder elementary schools.

The results have been impressive.

T/R/S! outreach workers have worked to keep 185 families from Sullivan and Robinson Gardens involved in a myriad of programs and activities whose ultimate goal is improving and fostering literacy. Officials at Boland and Dorman say T/R/S! parents are now active players in their schools, on parent-teacher organizations as well as simply being in touch with their children’s teachers.

The Hasbro Summer Learning Initiative, which brings a five-week, nature-based summer program to both schools, has shown that an engaging program can be fun and boost reading skills during the months when many children fall behind. Pre- and post-testing has shown consistently that most children’s reading improves by at least one level.

The T/R/S! team is a collaboration of more than two dozen city agencies and organizatons, including the Springfield Housing Authority.

The T/R/S! team is a collaboration of more than two dozen city agencies and organizatons, including the Springfield Housing Authority.In this photo, leaders gather for a luncheon meeting.

Some other groups participating in T/R/S! are:

  • Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
  • Ready for Kindergarten, administered by Home City Families
  • Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
  • Partners for a Healthier Community
  • Raising a Reader
  • Springfield Parent Academy
  • Head Start

The NAHRO article describes the four pillars that are the foundation of T/R/S!: parent engagement, parenting education, child education and family self-sufficiency, describing programs and activities that fall under each heading, and how they strive to help participants.

 

3867 days ago / Awards & Recognition,Our Residents,Youth Programs
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