By Lily Vartanian – This past year, Marquette University announced that NBA star and Marquette alum Dwyane Wade, through his Wade’s World Foundation, had made a generous grant to the College of Education’s Ralph C. Hartman Literacy and Learning Center.
The foundation supports community-based organizations which promote education, health and social skills for children in at-risk situations. Currently, this grant will serve to further the Hartman Center’s mission by providing and extending summer programing and literacy growth for underdeveloped and at-risk readers from various Milwaukee schools.
Although the Hartman Center works with students throughout the school year as well, this exciting opportunity will allow for students to receive individualized and more targeted literacy instruction during the summer, which has never occurred in past years. Preparations in the Hartman Center have been ongoing since the announcement was made in December. Now, the literacy program will begin this upcoming Monday, June 15, for the 60 lucky readers and Marquette tutors in the Hartman Center.
To prepare, 12 tutors were selected to serve as the students’ teachers for the six-week program. These tutors, who consist of previous Hartman Center tutors and recent graduates, have been preparing this past semester, whether through their final Marquette College of Education courses, or throughout student teaching experiences. As tutors, proper planning and the implementation of learned phonics and literacy work will be required in order to benefit and better serve these students. Schools such as Bruce Guadalupe Community School, St. Rose and St. Leo Catholic School, Brown Street Academy, as well as Highlands Community School will be participating in the program. Although throughout the school year the Hartman Center serves students up until fifth grade, this summer will focus on students from first to third grade, where learning will be especially essential and beneficial.
As a former tutor for the Hartman Center from the fall of 2014, as well as a tutor now this summer, I will be documenting and writing about what a typical day in the Hartman Center consists of, and the progress students make as the program begins and continues throughout the summer. I am excited to have the opportunity to not only work once again in the Hartman Center, but to be able to document our first summer program!
To better help us prepare, we gathered in the Hartman Center this past Saturday, June 5 for an all-day professional development session led by associate professor Dr. Kathleen Clark and Mrs. Calley Hostad, the Program Coordinator of the Hartman Center. This session was to ensure that we were ready for the students’ arrival this coming Monday, June 15.
Throughout the course of the day, we reviewed procedures, lesson planning requirements, and took time to make thoughtful considerations for planning activities based on each child’s reading level. Additionally, we were given time to decorate and begin prepping our classrooms in which the total of sixty students will work and learn throughout the six weeks of the program. The Hartman Center’s overall theme revolves around camping– building “S’more Readers” for the summer. However, in line with Hartman Center custom, each tutor can designate a certain theme or idea for their own classrooms within the center, if they wish. So far, some of the tutors have created rooms centered on themes such as “around the world” and travel, superheroes, and “blooming into reading.”
We will be required to adjust and monitor our students’ progress throughout the six weeks using a variety of assessments and instructional tools. Overall, the goal will be for all students to make gains in their reading and literacy, as summer is often a time when all students lose the knowledge and progress they have made throughout the school year. I’ll keep you posted on our progress with (hopefully) pictures to give you a flavor of what the Summer “Live the Dream” Program is all about.