How is it already mid-August and time to get all of those back-to-school preparations made?
If you watch or read the local news, I expect you know something about TEA’s takeover of HISD and have many questions. Well, we are on the frontlines of all things HISD elementary schools, and we still have questions, too. It’s definitely a challenging time for HISD administrators, teachers, staff, parents, and partners like us who have worked alongside these groups for many years.
Although we have deep compassion for those groups of adults, our concern and priority are the precious children who only have one chance at kindergarten or 1st grade. Only one or two years, in the early childhood grades, to build that strong foundation in reading. You may be smiling and saying to yourself, “Jacque, that’s a bit dramatic, don’t you think?” My reply is “no”, the quality of pre-reading and reading instruction that children receive in early childhood is critical as it sets the course for their ability to learn, and to be successful in school and life in general.
Unfortunately, three of our HISD campuses are now classified as New Education System (NES) or NES Affiliated so we are not allowed (per NES guidelines) to serve struggling readers at those high-needs campuses again this year. We are very sad about this development but hope the additional support being provided to the NES campuses will serve our students well. Additionally, there have been recent budget cuts and many last-minute administrative changes at non-NES HISD campuses, so those things are challenging as well.
I’ve had multiple conversations with other local non-profit leaders, and we’ve mused that we just thought it was hard during COVID. At the time, we thought COVID would be the biggest challenge we’d ever face…well, we were wrong! BUT at Literacy Now, we are a scrappy, resilient, and determined bunch who fiercely love those we serve, one another, and those we serve alongside.
Although our 2023-24 plans look a bit different than they did in late June, we are forging ahead with great plans for this school year and beyond! Because we know and have proven repeatedly that challenges are just opportunities to be explored and realized!
Thanks to YOU for coming alongside us as we rise to meet the challenges before us. Our kids and families need us now more than ever and I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the privilege to serve and for the trust and support YOU continue to provide!
Chief Executive Officer