LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- How many times have you heard somebody make a negative comment about public education? “Kids don’t really learn anything in school.” “They can’t learn, there’s no discipline in the schools.” “If we did away with the teachers union, all of the problems would be solved!”
These statements are not true. In fact, there is really good work being done in most Kentucky and Indiana schools. Yes, there are problems and challenges for teachers, administrators, parents and students. And guess what? There’s a way all of us can become involved and begin to solve the problems and help meet the challenges.
A bit of history: In 2003, the Jefferson County Public Schools partnered with Greater Louisville Inc, Louisville Metro Government and many local social service agencies to create the EVERY 1 READS program. At that time, 18% of the students in the Jefferson County schools did not read on grade level. The program was an intensive effort to have everyone reading on grade level.
A key part of that program involved recruiting volunteers who agreed to spend 30 minutes a week helping one student with their reading. 11,000 people volunteered over the life of the program. I was one of them.
As an Every 1 Reads volunteer, I was paired with an inquisitive second grader. She was good in math and science but struggled a bit with reading. Because of the intensive support she received in school, and a little tender loving care that I provided, she was at grade level within six months. Fast forward to today. My original student, who has become a real friend over the past ten years, is a senior in one of the JCPS high schools. She plans to attend college next fall and seek an engineering degree.
My experience is one of many great stories that emerged from the Every 1 Reads program. In most cases, the adults got as much or more out of the program as the students did. One of my friends has continued to tutor. This past school year she was working with seven different students at one of our local elementary schools. Like many others, she and her family have become very close to their first student.
If you can read, you are fully qualified to become an “E1R” volunteer. To do so in Jefferson County, visit www.jefferson.kyschools.us/programs/everyonereadsvol/ or call 502-485-3710. If you live outside of Louisville, in Southern Indiana or other parts of Kentucky, call your local school or school board. Although they may not have a program called Every 1 Reads, they would love to have your help working with their students.
Let’s come together as a community and stop complaining. Become part of the solution. Join the effort as JCPS re-energizes Every 1 Reads.
Sam Corbett is WHAS11's education consultant. If you have a story idea or question about our local schools, Sam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.