Why is it that California has the 5th largest economy in the world, yet we are ranked 37th out of 50 in the US for pre K-12 education? While population, legislation, and many other factors surely contribute to this dire situation, it's up to all of us to identify where we can make a difference for the benefit of an educated society. Working together might be one of the best chances we have.
When our Kindergarten students enter school without the skills they need to become good readers, they are more likely to struggle academically for years to come (Foster & Miller, 2007). We do the best we can in the classroom to help students make growth, but sometimes it isn't enough to get them caught up. Where can we turn for support? Calling on families and community organizations to help our students do their best could be one approach to closing the achievement gap early on.
As an educator with a background in social work, it seems natural to work closely with families and the community for the benefit of students. However, many teachers and administrators don't know where to begin. The Innovative Learning Masters Program at Touro University has allowed me to explore this path to working with families and the community to improve the early literacy skills of our youngest students, and now I can share the steps with you.