Teachers and student participants in the ELITE Institute pose for a photo.
Over the summer, Texas Wesleyan’s Dan Waggoner Hall became a place where both teachers and students engaged in powerful teaching and learning. Drs. Lisa Dryden and Elsa Anderson developed the ELITE (Excellent Literacy Instruction to Empower) Institute. Two sessions were offered, one in June and one in July. Nearly 20 teachers from FWISD, other neighboring districts and after-school programs were trained in the model. They then put their new skills to use, with the help of almost 70 FWISD students. Working with small groups of students, each teacher provided students with opportunities to engage in reading and writing during their time at the ELITE Institute.
Alice Puente, Texas Wesleyan trustee, along with Tobi Jackson, executive director of SPARC (Strengthen after-school Programs through Advocacy, Resources and Collaboration) approached the School of Education, asking for a program to motivate and engage students in reading and writing and at the same time, provide professional development for teachers.
“One of the main objectives was to impact student ‘summer slide,’” Anderson told Read Fort Worth. “To make sure that the slide that is so characteristic of summer when students are not exposed to literacy and diminish that by providing students the opportunity read and write and engage and learn. And do so in a way that’s pleasant.”
“One of the kids said, ‘This is the best day ever,’” Dryden said. “That’s why we’re here. That’s pretty cool.”
SPARC funded the ELITE Institute. Teachers and students also got a tour of campus, where some students became excited about becoming a Ram one day. The last day, each student also got a certificate recognizing them as “Ram Readers,” while teachers attended a Graduate Admissions presentation regarding Texas Wesleyan’s Master of Education and Doctor of Education programs.