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DALLAS (October 22, 2014) – Meeting the challenge to increase literacy in Dallas schools now and in the future, The Hockaday School will partner with nine Dallas Independent School District schools for its annual Day of Service on November 12, 2014, to create new and sustainable opportunities for children to learn to read. Supporting the theme, Go. Give. Unite., approximately 1,500 students, parents, alumnae, faculty and staff from Hockaday will partner with schools to revitalize and level libraries, create family literacy kits, donate books, make telephone calls to DISD advocates for support, and create an online platform through Amazon.com to help fund the initiative.
 
“This year, Hockaday’s Day of Service is part of a larger initiative that includes a network of 18 public schools and 10 private schools, partnering to support over 11,000 students around a single purpose - to give children the tools they need to read at their appropriate level,” said Kim Wargo, Eugene McDermott Headmistress of The Hockaday School. “Our collective goal is to create a lasting resource that will benefit all of the volunteers and participants alike. For more than 100 years, Hockaday has stood on four cornerstones: Character, Courtesy, Scholarship, and Athletics, and the Day of Service reinforces our commitment to those values instilled in each student.”
 
Kicking off the Day of Service will be DISD Superintendent Mike Miles who will speak to the Hockaday community about the importance of literacy in Dallas and the impact each volunteer will have not only on the Day of Service but also the positive ripple effect of their actions. “Think Differently, Act Courageously” is Mr. Miles' mantra. He began his tenure as DISD's Superintendent of Schools 2012, and upon assuming leadership of the district, he led the development of Destination 2020, a comprehensive plan and evaluation system  designed to raise student achievement so that DISD students are prepared for college and careers. DISD has also launched an initiative, Imagine 2020, which provides additional resources to schools, and has begun developing systems to support DISD students earning career-ready certificates, leading directly to the career and college-ready goals outlined in Destination 2020. Mr. Miles believes teachers can change lives, and what they do will have a lasting impact.
 
Following Mr. Miles will be Marni Glaser who will address Middle and Upper School students about critical phases of childhood education and brain development.   Ms. Glazer serves on Commit!’s Early Childhood Support Council concentrating on early childhood education and has worked as a clinical lecturer at UT- Dallas in the Department of Brain and Behavior Sciences. Focusing on the neurological basis for communication, her courses highlighted the importance of the brain development in the first seven years of life and the need for appropriate stimulation and language exposure to lay the foundation for future learning.
 
By partnering with DISD through the Commit! Partnership, collectively we want to help close our community’s substantial achievement gap and improve upon these eye-opening statistics.
 
-          Almost 4 in 10 Dallas children currently live in poverty – third highest in the United States behind only Detroit and Memphis - and Dallas ISD’s budget struggles at times to meet the literacy intervention needs of its students, 90% of whom qualify for free or reduced lunch.
-          Statistics show students who are not reading on grade level by the end of 3rd grade are 13 times less likely to graduate high school on time.
-          Up until 3rd grade, students are taught to read, and after 4th grade, they must be able to read to learn.
-          Among Dallas County’s 14 public school districts, only 37% have achieved the recommended reading level for 3rd grade.
-          Only 14% of public school students, which represent 90% of all students in Dallas County, are currently ready for college when they graduate. Getting 100% of 3rd graders on grade-level reading could result in 12,000 more DISD students annually being ready for college when they graduate.
-          Increasing early literacy proficiency can result in up to $2.2 billion in annual regional economic impact for each graduating cohort by substantially increasing their lifetime earnings through post-secondary achievement
 
This may be the current reality, but WE ARE PART OF THE SOLUTION to change these statistics. With the added resource of focused, strategic partnerships with committed volunteers, DISD principals report proven success!  Last year, Hockaday’s Upper Schools girls committed over 2,000 hours focused on literacy intervention at Gooch Elementary, and by year end, STUDENTS HAD ACHIEVED DOUBLE-DIGIT INCREASES across state-level standardized reading scores (STAAR).
 
Students from The Hockaday School will partner with the following DISD schools for the Day of Service:Everette L. DeGolyer Elementary School, Herbert Marcus Elementary School, Jerry R. Junkins Elementary School, K.B. Polk Elementary School, Leonides Gonzalez Cigarroa MD Elementary School, Nathan Adams Elementary School, Stephen C. Foster Elementary School, Sudie L. Williams Elementary School, and Walnut Hill Elementary School. 
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