Sign Publicizing the Reading Program (Made by Marty Kozloff of the Research Team)
In May of 2008, after years of hard work and collaboration between representatives from Wilmington Housing Authority and The University of North Carolina Wilmington, Chancellor Rosemary DePaolo signed a formal partnership agreement between WHA and UNCW. A key feature of that agreement was the creation of an extension campus to be located at Hillcrest Housing Community.
One of the principal goals of the Community Campus was to offer a variety of educational opportunities and programs to historically under-served populations.
The UNCW: Hillcrest Reading Program is one of a number of programs being offered at the Community Campus. The impetus behind the Reading Program was and is to try to reduce the enduring achievement gap between white and black children in New Hanover County.
John Rice, an associate professor of sociology, Martin Kozloff, the Watson Distinguished Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership, and Eric irizarry, an outstanding graduate student in the Master's in School Administration program worked in conjunction with several colleagues (see the Research Team) to plan and design the program.
In early August, 2008 we recruited volunteer tutors from among undergraduate students in sociology and education classes. On August 19th, with the generous assistance and expertise of colleagues from the Roger Bacon Academy, in Leland -- in particular, Mr. Cary Andrews who volunteered his time and effort -- we offered a two and a half-hour training session for prospective tutors. (It was uniquely gratifying that, although the training was held from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m. on a Friday afternoon, sixty-two students attended the training! Not all of them wound up volunteering; some had come to learn more about the program we are using.)
We also recruited children for the program. Jess and Danielle went door to door in Hillcrest, telling residents about the program; as did Eric, even going so far as to pay some middle children to help him find children to enroll in the Program! We also signed some kids up at the Hillcrest Community Open House Event, held on September 20th.
We initiated the program on Monday, August 22nd. It got off to a slow start: the first day, only three children showed up. Eventually, we tutored 17 children from September 22nd to December 11th.
After Cary Andrews again generously volunteered his time and expertise to train, on January 28th, 2009 (this time 70 students attended), a new group of tutors for the spring 2009 semester, the Program started up again on February 2nd and will run through the end of April. The research team has begun preliminary planning to offer a summer version of the Reading Program, as well.