"It does take a village to raise a child. It is the role of the entire community to uplift this school."

Last Sunday Principal Sarah Reeves from Shamrock Gardens Elementary School came to Watershed's Sunday Gatherings to share about the importance of community support in education (watch the full interview below). Through Catapult, Watershed's local justice initiative, volunteers have been coming alongside the staff and students at Walter G. Byers school for more than seven years. We are so excited to launch this second school partnership with Shamrock!

Our primary focus at Shamrock will be providing reading buddies to scholars who need them. That's right - scholars. It's no accident that the young people at Shamrock are labeled with a word loaded with such potential. The staff wants Shamrock students to know just how much they believe in them, and part of helping scholars internalize that belief is having people from outside the school community reinforce it as well.

On Sunday Principal Reeves shared some sobering statistics with our Watershed community:

"Reading is the achievement gap for our kids. You could fill the NC music factory amphitheater with [CMS 3rd graders] who are below proficient in reading. There is so much research that shows if you don’t get them by the end of 3rd grade, the chance of them becoming proficient really decreases. States look at 4th grade reading proficiency levels to project prison rates. Getting our kids on grade level is a non-negotiable."

Inevitably these stats and figures beg one question: what is the solution?

The solution is layered and complex, but one facet that seems to be moving the needle is matching up struggling readers with one-on-one reading tutors. 85% of the 3rd grade scholars at Shamrock Gardens who started with a reading buddy before October are now on grade level. For just an hour a week, it truly is possible to help reshape the future for a struggling student in this community. 

Watershed's goal is to resource Shamrock Gardens with 20 new reading buddies before the end of March. As a reading buddy, you'd visit your student for 30-45 minutes each week on a consistent day and time. Resources and lessons plans are provided - no education experience necessary!

Thank you, Principal Reeves, for visiting Watershed and providing our community with an opportunity to undermine injustice right in our backyard.  

Would you like more information or are you ready to jump in? Click here to get involved!