Superintendents to deliver books on Friday, February 24 at 10:00 a.m.
MUSKEGON, MI: On Friday, February 24, 2017, at 10:00 a.m. at Muskegon Public Schools’ Moon Elementary School located at 1826 Hoyt Street, Muskegon, nearly 5,000 new books will be delivered to kindergarten, first, second, and third graders to be used within their classrooms. The books were purchased for the classrooms by Herman Miller Cares as part of the Reading Now Network, a collective effort of 70 school districts in 13 West Michigan counties to improve early literacy and, ultimately, student achievement across all grade levels.
Muskegon Public Schools Superintendent Justin Jennings and Muskegon Area Intermediate School District (MAISD) Superintendent John Severson will arrive with two vans filled with books. The kindergartners will help unload the first van and will bring the books inside the building.
The media will be invited inside Room 128, Mrs. Erin Mepyans kindergarten classroom to see the boxes opened and the students’ reactions. Mrs. Mepyans will be available to answer questions following the student interaction. Moon Elementary School Principal Okeelah McBride, Alison Freas of Herman Miller Cares, Erin Brown of the Reading Now Network (RNN) and MAISD, and the Muskegon Public Schools and MAISD Superintendents will be available for media interviews while the first, second, and third graders finish unloading the second van.
As part of an effort to bring literacy practices used at high-achieving schools into schools that want to see improvement, the RNN selected four schools that volunteered to participate as “lab schools” and put 2014 research findings to the test. Moon School is one of those four lab schools.
Reading Now Network educators work closely with Moon School leaders and instructors to institute five principles of reading success – known as Roots of Reading Success – into the school curriculum. The principles are based on RNN research in schools with above-average reading scores and include: an uncompromising focus on reading, using relevant data deeply, shared leadership and sustained commitment, learning-focused classroom management, and a collective responsibility for every child’s success.
Herman Miller, Inc. and Huntington recently donated a combined $30,000 to support the Reading Now Network’s (RNN) efforts to improve early literacy and, ultimately, student achievement across all grade levels in school districts throughout West Michigan. These combined funds will be used to enhance classroom libraries in kindergarten through third grade at three elementary schools in Muskegon, Kent and Ottawa counties. The donations support Moon Elementary in Muskegon, Parkview Elementary in Wyoming and Woodbridge Elementary in Zeeland. These schools, along with Big Jackson in Newaygo County which is awaiting a book donation from Scholastic Publishing Company by March, are part of the first group of RNN Lab Schools.
According to Dr. Kyle Mayer, assistant superintendent of instructional services for Ottawa Area ISD and a member of the RNN research team, research says classrooms need roughly 1,500 books at appropriate reading levels from which kids can choose that meet student interests in both fiction and non-fiction to improve and encourage reading and literacy.
“Thanks to Herman Miller Cares wonderful donation, Moon Elementary teachers will now have the classroom materials they need to further utilize Reading Now Network strategies to help improve the reading skills of all students,” said Muskegon Area Intermediate School District Superintendent John Severson. “What a great way to help our kids!”
According to Okeelah McBride, principal for Moon Elementary, the resulting increase in student opportunities to read a variety of books of their own choosing both in the classroom and at home will make a significant difference in students’ reading engagement, enjoyment, and literacy growth.
With roughly 50,000 kindergarten through third grade classrooms in the RNN area, the overarching goal of RNN is to provide every classroom with 1,500 quality books at the appropriate reading levels by the end of this decade.
“The Reading Now Network is having a tremendous impact on early literacy in our community and will pave the way for broader efforts that fuel meaningful education reform,” said Linda Brand, executive director of Herman Miller Cares. “Schools can’t do it alone, and Herman Miller is proud to help drive initiatives that make a difference for our students, our future workforce, and ultimately the prosperity of our community.”
For more information on the Reading Now Network and to watch videos about the Roots of Reading Success key research findings, visit www.gomasa.org/readingnow and @readingnownet.