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CCS Schools Work Together to Further Students Success in Literacy, Matriculation, and the Arts

group od students standing in front of school building

March 21, 2024 — Mifflin High School students are partnering with Como Elementary School through the Reading Buddies program. As reading buddies, the Mifflin students foster a love for literacy among younger students and expose them to the arts. High school students can also experience potential careers working with children, such as teaching or pediatrics.

"I really love kids," said Jaylan Ash, an 11th grade student at Mifflin. "I am going to work as a camp counselor this summer, so I wanted tostudent reading a book to two other students experience working with kids. I want to do pediatrics for my future career, so this experience helps."

The Reading Buddies program at Como is a shining example of how schools can collaborate to create meaningful learning experiences for students of all ages. The meaningful relationships between older and younger students through this program enhance literacy and work to decrease absenteeism among students at both levels.

"This program allows students from Mifflin to connect with Como students through voice, expression, and fluency," said Nasha Williams-Irving, Primary Literacy Specialist and Interventionist at Como. "Mifflin students read to whole groups, small groups, and one-on-one. The benefits exceed academics; students can bond with each other and build relationships."

Despite Mifflin not being the school Como students will progress to, the relationship between these schools could not be more robust. This month, in addition to the Reading Buddies, Mifflin will host the entirety of Como for a showing of The Fairytale Courtroom, giving elementary school students exposure to the arts and theater they otherwise may not see in middle school.

"It's super exciting for our students," said Como Principal Leania Alli. "We have had the pleasure of going to see different theater performances. I know it has inspired one fifth-grade student to be brave and join the choir this year and sing."

This interconnectedness between schools enhances cultural awareness and fosters personal growth and career exploration. The relationships built in this program have a lasting impact on Mifflin students by offering a unique opportunity to explore their interests and passions. 

"I feel satisfied knowing I'm here and can help these kids," said Ash. "I can bring something positive to them, improve their day, make it fun, and create a different experience for them."

Although the partnership started with students working together as reading buddies, Mifflin wants to continue working with Como outside the program. They assisted with the Como Black History Celebration. They brought in their band, drill team, and other performers, culminating in a memorable event where students saw their buddies as fellow performers. Alli hopes this partnership will endure for years, as she has seen Como benefit from it.

"This is our first year working with Mifflin, and I'm excited that Ms. Irving was able to build that relationship with the team at Mifflin," said Alli. “It is more than just the reading buddies. [It’s] the band and the drill team; now, it's theater, too. From our perspective at Como, we receive all the benefits because their students come and are great role models for our students.”

As the Mifflin reading buddies program at Como continues to thrive, it sets a positive example for future school collaborations. By encouraging these relationships and promoting literacy, schools can create a more inclusive and supportive learning environment for students of all ages. As these high school students grow and pursue their careers, they will carry the lessons of empathy, mentorship, and community building learned through programs like this, creating a brighter future for education and society.

Power of One

Priority 1 - Whole Child FocusedPriority 2 - Equitable Opportunities for AllPriority 3 - Strong Learning Communities in Every RegionPriority 4 - Authentic EngagementPortrait Attribute 1 - AdaptabilityPortrait Attribute 2 - CommunicationPortrait Attribute 3 - CreativityPortrait Attribute 4 - Critical ThinkingPortrait Attribute 5 - Global EmpathyPortrait Attribute 6 - Technology