Member Profile- Hockaday School

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A study released by the American Educational Research Association in 2011
Dallas, Texas
1,098 students
Head of School: Liza Lee 
revealed that students who cannot read on level by third grade are four times less likely to graduate from high school than their classmates who are proficient readers.  In addition, it has been shown that fewer than one in five children reading below grade level in third grade go on to college. Unfortunately, Dallas Independent School District (DISD) has a population where only 35% of their third graders are reading at grade level.
An investment in literacy
The Hockaday School, an all-girls preK-12 school in Dallas, Texas, has focused their community engagement and partnership programs on the improvement of the DISD literacy rate. Laura Day, Director of Community Service at Hockaday says "This is an important issue in our community and having our girls committed to this will have the power to change our city". Their strategic approach involves all members of their community (alumnae, parents, students and teachers) and is a long term, sustainable effort that aims to improve students' reading ability to grade level by the time they reach 3rd grade.
Building on an established partnership
With nearly fifty girls already traveling to DISD schools every day to read, mentor and support literacy growth, Hockaday's relationship with the administrators and teachers of DISD schools is strong. For that reason they looked for an opportunity to expand on already existing partnerships with the hopes of maximizing their impact on the community.
Laura DayDirector of Community Service
Day met with leaders in the district and discussed with them the potential of the Hockaday community to have a greater presence in the schools through what she calls "A Day of Service".  As a result, on November 12, 2015 500 Hockaday students in grades 6-12, teachers, parents and alumnae will head out to nine elementary schools for an entire school day.  
While the concept itself seems simple, the preparation and execution of a Day of Service is in fact complex. To help with pre-event education, multiple events were prepared to inform the Hockaday community about literacy, the achievement gap and the schools in the DISD. The students attended an assembly conducted by one of the elementary school principals to talk about the value of their work and the importance of reading skills in elementary students and a speaker came to campus to present an evening lecture and discussion focusing on the literacy gap and ways to combat it for the entire Hockaday community. 
While in the schools on November 12, the Hockaday volunteers will conduct reading circles, small groups and fun literacy activities.  They will also complete larger projects such as creating school-wide leveled libraries and categorizing classroom libraries.
The reach and the depth of this project would not be possible had it not been for the pre-existing trust that Hockaday and DISD shared.  That, coupled with intentional programming around literacy education and a vision to affect greater change, permitted Hockaday to create the Day of Service.  While the true effect on literacy results remain unclear at this point, it is clear that this partnership is solid, sustainable and has room for exponential growth in the future. 

View All News Items

News Updates