Spann Elementary School - Pandemic Partnership Response

Spann Elementary School (Jackson Public Schools) with MS Children’s Museum, First Baptist Jackson, Mangia Bene Inc, Rotary Club of Jackson, Northminster Baptist Church, Bellwether Community Church, Dawson, Inc.- specialty partnership, Congressional Awards Volunteers, Office of the Lt. Governor. The Lovin’ Literacy project is ensuring that their students not only develop literacy skills but also develop their l-o-v-e for reading.

The ‘Man of Steel’, Superman, once said, “A hero is an ordinary individual who perseveres in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” Spann Elementary’s valuable partners, heroes in our eyes, have set their course to provide students the tools to do just this – thrive in the midst of challenging times. With public and school libraries restricting handling of books and lack of enriching literacy experiences, we saw that our students had concerning deficits in their literacy and comprehension assessments (MAAP May,‘21, STAR Aug.’21). Our staff intentionally sought community involvement to help remedy the critical needs and creatively
designed our project – Lovin’ Literacy. Over the past year, partners have joined us in planning and targeting ways by which this could be carried out. Together we planned and implemented virtual, holiday themed Read Aloud sessions, provided primary students the opportunities to develop individual reading skills with
literacy projects where kindergartners designed garden boxes on the school lawn. We even recruited Congressional Certificate Program participants to serve as Reading Buddies (via Zoom) for various grade level learning sessions. Discussing and forming specific literacy goals with our partners, staff, and students allowed us, as a comprehensive team, to consistently implement plans and activities by which students could build background knowledge, develop in comprehension skills, and enrich their literacy experiences – with real people in real time. These acts of kindness began to literally multiply into vast examples of volunteerism and educational opportunities provided for Spann’s student body. Lt. Gov. Hoseman, Mangia Bene, Rotary Club of Jackson, and Congressional Award Program volunteers gladly faced the technical challenges of working with students via virtual platforms. MS Children’s Museum funded in-school exhibits for grades K-5 to physically learn science concepts as students further developed in comprehension with
informational texts in classrooms. New community volunteers read virtually with students, helped them explore life through children’s books, and taught them how to carry out fun comprehension tasks. Cane’s management provided incentives (free kids meals) for students showing growth in their reading skills – for
students who are receiving high levels of intervention to those who need to be nudged to greater levels of achievement. The continual collaboration between Spann and community partners is producing viable impact. Our project, Lovin’ Literacy, is ensuring that our students not only develop in literacy skills but also develop in their l-o-v-e for reading. The project’s problem-solving design involving staff, students, families, and community partners is laying the foundation for current and future successes of students who have
been educationally affected by the pandemic. Implementing these goal-oriented activities is boosting student achievement as we make our students’ literacy development a top priority at this time in their young lives.