We like putting our money where our mouth is and this week the Chamber did just that. In 2012, we worked hard to pass the READ Act—a bill that lays out our commitment and plans to ensure every child in Colorado reads before they leave third grade. We focused on that strategy because the connection between reading and high school completion is very high, and after third grade students must be able to read to learn—they are NO longer learning to read at school. We promised that we were not only committed to setting high standards for our kids, but also would do the work to ensure we achieve them.
Yesterday, several members of your Chamber team did just that. We went to Columbine Elementary school as contributors to the Mile High United Way program called Power Lunch. This program is a collaboration among Denver Public Schools, the Denver Public Schools Foundation and Mile High United Way that partners business professionals with third-grade students in a low-income school.
Joining us is one of our members, Polsinelli Shugart, and together we will read with our student reading buddies for an hour every week until the end of the school year. Now, here’s the really cool part—we have a yellow school bus that picks all of us up and drives us to meet with our third grade class in North Park Hill West.
Yes, it’s a commitment from each of us—we have promised the school and the students that we will be there every Tuesday (that’s our team’s day) to read. Just as important, we have made a commitment to create a relationship with that child so they can count on us for the entire year and, maybe, beyond. And, the relationship with the student builds fast—Anthony (my reader) has already challenged me to a dance-off since we both learned we like Wii. (I’m seeing a great literacy fundraiser in our future.) This entire experience will likely turn out to be one of the teambuilding experiences we’ve had at the Chamber team in a long while.
There are so many ways we can all help ensure Colorado’s kids get an excellent education. For more information you can contact any Colorado school district. Below are some links for foundations associated with the bigger districts: