In August of 2015, I was asked by Superintendent Duran to attend a meeting with Jason Redd, board president along with members of The Trenton Literacy Movement (TTLM). They invited me to visit summer programs within the Trenton Housing Projects that were using a reading program called Lexia® that was showing promising results.
When I visited the program, I met a young man who was entering the sixth grade. He shared with me how he could not read at the beginning of the summer and now he could. He proudly read to me a book he was currently reading. My eyes were instantly filled with tears of joy.
Later that day, I asked my director to conduct research on the program. One of our district areas of focus was “Early Literacy.” The research was clear and we recognized that students must be able to read by end of second (2nd) grade in order for them to read to learn in grades three and above.
Subsequently, the Trenton School District and The Trenton Literacy Movement partnered to implement the Lexia® program in six schools for second (2nd) grade students struggling with reading. From the beginning, I was impressed by the passion and commitment of every member of TTLM. For them it was truly a “movement” not just a program. TTLM had a focused vision to improve the Trenton community by addressing the well-known literacy crisis.
During my tenure as Chief Academic Officer and Interim Superintendent, the program grew to serve many more students and the movement also grew to provide students with books to read.
After leaving the Trenton School District, my experience with TTLM, led me to join the organization as a board member. For over a year, I traveled to Trenton from Philadelphia in support of TTLM’s noble mission to tackle the literacy crisis and to empower a community by improving its literacy rates. It brings me great joy to know that TTLM continues to work on behalf of Trenton’s children.