Today all 8th grade students began writing their donation letters to individuals and businesses hoping to collect enough books and money to fund HUSKIES: Behind the Books in a BIG way! Letters will be going home tomorrow to all families explaining this service-learning project and donor letters will be mailed in the next few days. Here is the letter in its entirety;
8th Grade ELA Team, North Junior High School
15325 Highway 41 North
Evansville, Indiana 47725
November 14, 2013
Dear Families of 8th Grade Students:
Engaging students in literacy is one of the most important factors in creating tomorrow’s workforce. We, the students and 8th grade ELA teachers at North Junior High School (Arlene Allen, Natalie Jones, Leeann Kassenbrock, Katelyn Buttram, Tracy Fuquay, and Russell Luecke), are striving to be prepared for the world ahead. Part of this is to understand the importance of community.
The purpose of education is to develop students into competent and functional individuals in society. Classroom activities and projects that are based on the school’s curriculum equip the students with knowledge and experience that are geared toward this ultimate goal of education. Community responsibility is at the core of education. Student-learning based projects directly support that belief through projects that deepen and contextualize course learning outcomes to benefit community organizations, or in this case, the North District feeder schools and their students and teachers. Additionally, service-learning supports and provides resources for hands-on individual and student group volunteering throughout the Husky community.
Through service-learning projects, students can learn that the world around them have needs that must be met. Service-learning projects allow students to give of themselves for the good of others, thus the creation of the HUSKIES: Behind the Books Project, Christmas 2013 Edition. This year will be the launch of this project which will endeavor to emphasize the importance of literacy to all students. All 8th grade students, approximately 425, at North Junior High School are eager to participate in this service-learning project and have the chance to deepen their knowledge, skills and personal interests, while strengthening community awareness, civic engagement, and district loyalty.
Here are a few facts concerning literacy:
- Only one-third of all students entering high school are proficient in reading — only about 15 percent of African American students, and 17 percent of Hispanic students. (NAEP Reading_2009)
- Two thirds of eighth graders do not read at the “proficient” level. (NAEP Reading_2009)
- There is a significant economic reading gap for students: only 16 percent of students eligible for “free or reduced lunch” programs are proficient in reading, compared to 42 percent who are not eligible. (NAEP Reading_2009)
- Boys lag behind girls in reading proficiency in all 50 states — in some states by as many as 10 percentage points. (Center for Education Policy)
- Between 1971 and 2004, the NAEP scores of 12th-graders showed no improvement. Further(Alliance for Excellent Education)
- Only 31 percent of college graduates have high level literacy skills. (2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy, cited by The New York Times)
- 47% of students who took the ACTs in 2009 did not meet the ACT College Readiness for the Reading section of the ACT Benchmark. (the ACT)
- A study conducted in 2005 revealed that 33% of non-college students and 29% of college students who participated in the study felt inadequately prepared for reading and understanding complicated materials. (Achieve, Inc.)
- In a 2005 study, 70% of 300 surveyed college instructors felt that students were unprepared to understand college level reading and comprehending complex materials. (Achieve, Inc.)
- The 2009 SAT results revealed that students who had four or more years of English and Language Arts study scored over 100 points more in Critical Reading, Writing and Mathematics sections than students who had one year or less training. (The CollegeBoard)
- Reading frequency declines after age eight – and boys are more likely to be low frequency readers than girls. (2008 Kids & Family Reading Report)
- Parents are key reading role models. High frequency reading parents are six times more likely to have high frequency reading kids. (2008 Kids & Family Reading Report)
The goal of HUSKIES: Behind the Books is to obtain new books for K – 6 grade students through donations, make and assemble learning packets for both student and teacher use, student recorded CD’s, bookmarks, videos, and many more resources. All resources will align with the Common Core standards for each grade level and will be generically designed for use with all books and genres.
Our students, teachers, and administrators are very excited about HUSKIES: Behind the Books. The students are looking so forward to reconnecting with, and maybe assisting, some of their favorite teachers that planted the seeds of books and reading in them at a young age. It is our goal to reinforce the love, respect, and knowledge for literacy that has already begun in the elementary classrooms, simultaneously, making literacy a practical and necessary part of our students’ lives.
The books and resources will be arriving in the North Junior High School feeder schools before Christmas. The elves have not decided quite how that is going to work yet, but more information will be provided in a timely manner. We truly appreciate the opportunity to share HUSKIES: Behind the Books with all of the feeder school students and teachers. We value your support of this project and appreciate any donation that can be made.
The following donations are needed to help fulfill the goals of the HUSKIES: Behind the Books service-learning project: new books (age kindergarten through 6th grade) or any monetary amount. The donations can be dropped off at North Junior High School or mailed to North Junior High School, 15325 Highway 41 North, Evansville, Indiana 47725, Attn: Leeann Kassenbrock. Any donation will be greatly appreciated and will bring us closer to our goal. Please attach or enclose the section at the bottom of the page so we may properly thank you for your generosity. If you have any questions please contact any of the 8th grade ELA teachers.
Thank you again,
North Junior High School 8th grade English/language arts students
Leeann Kassenbrock (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tracy Fuquay (email@example.com)
Natalie Jones (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Russell Luecke (email@example.com)
Arlene Allen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Katelyn Buttram (email@example.com)
**We hope that everyone will be as excited as we, both students and teachers, are. We thank you in advance for your generosity. Thanks to you well over 1000 letters, like this, will be sent to prospective donors. There will be daily updates on how the service-learning project is going.
- Free Read – Exit Ticket and summary due this Friday
- Finish Flowers for Algernon
- HUSKIES: Behind the Books – Business Letters, Format, Research, Personal Message, Addresses of Donors. Study Guide STUDY GUIDE Unit 4 Business Letter
- Stamps & Money – collection is going well, but we still need additional stamps & money
- Names & Addresses – make sure and get 3 business or individual names and addresses for the donor letters.
- Blocks 1 & 2 Achieve 3000
Once again, HUSKIES: Behind the Books is going to be a very big service-learning project and a wonderful way to put the students’ skills to practical use. Soon advertisements will be appearing everywhere; newspaper, radio, etc. The excitement begins…