The students leading this project are a group of student leaders who believe they have the ability to make a difference within their communities and the world. As members of the Social Justice Club they have devised a project to improve the literacy of struggling readers.
The idea for this project came out of our students work at the Gateway to Change Race Summits and their work with Washington University on Systems Thinking. This work empowered them with the confidence and capacity to identify problems that exist within their community and solutions to remedy them. Students, therefore, identified low literacy scores and ignorance regarding diversity and cultural differences, as issues hindering the growth of their schools and the unity of their student body.
Students believed that a book drive in which community members were called to support the Social Justice Club would not only promote community engagement but also social equity and school improvement. They believed that by targeting the earlier grades not only could they stem drop in literacy and other issues associated with that, but they also could encourage students to be more open-minded to the differences of others through exposure to culturally responsive literature.
Students who are members of the Social Justice Club have been equipped with a framework for thinking and looking at complex issues. This project enables them to put the framework to use as they have identified an issue and have fully outlined a plan for ensuring the success of their work. In addition, a project of this scale reflects the values and goals of our club as it is a testament to their commitment to community service, school improvement, and social equity. The practice of these skills will culminate in preparing them to become productive citizens and empower them with the confidence they need to address any challenge they may face in their future endeavors.
In Their Own Words
Our teams goal is to make 50 kids go from readers to leaders. We are being the example of a leader by meeting with these kids once a month after school to sit down and experience a book's journey with them. If we show we care about their reading levels it may inspire them when they're older to take the same actions we are and help another kid improve their reading skills. (Emmy)
The whole plan from the beginning has been student driven. We were the ones who first identified the problem of student's struggling with their reading. We were the ones who determined a book drive would help bring our community together. We are the ones who thought that it would help struggling readers to read if they had a positive role model reading to them. We are the ones who believed that we could make a difference if we only took action. (Daniel)
This project is important to us because we believe the school is the center of our community. We believe that the strength of our community is reflected in the strength of our schools. By student leaders coming together to make a difference, we can improve our schools and our community. We believe that this drive can help us to do that by inspiring the youth, specifically those who are struggling readers, to find value in books and to some day rise up for what they believe in. (Dianne)
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