In October, The Good Deeds Team Co-Directors, Greg Green and Kristen Milligan, along with Northwest’s Creative Learning Specialist, Melissa Shiver, were honored to attend and speak at the WIDA National Conference in Detroit, Michigan. The theme of this year’s four-day conference was “Schools and Community Empowering One Another,” and the team was excited for the opportunity to discuss the Libros/Books Bilingual Literacy Program and the impact that it has had on the families, teachers, and school district as a whole.

Three ESL Specialists from the Tuscaloosa City ESL Department, Samantha Shuler, Tiffany Craig and Katie Harrison, also accompanied the team to answer questions and to share in the 75-minute presentation.  The key touch points of the presentation were the development, implementation, and impact of the Literacy Program, which highlighted specific strategies, activities, and resources that were useful to the team. The audience also engaged in conversations surrounding the obstacles they faced, including program development, budgeting and funding, community resources and support, and parent engagement.

The audience also had the opportunity to hear from families who have participated in the program, as some families documented their experience on video. The families spoke on how this program helped them learn ways to develop early reading literacy in their home language that can benefit their children when they begin learning to read in English. The purpose of the Libros/Books Bilingual Literacy Program was to create early reading strategies that can begin at home and be applied in the classroom; engaging parents with school and community gives students more opportunities to develop academic language daily.

“We’re hopeful that this program will show how community businesses, schools, and the family can partner together to empower a student’s successful development of early literacy skills,” said Milligan. This program reflects one of the key components to the Good Deeds Team: to look out into our communities to make an impact in our local schools, businesses, and organizations. We were so thankful to be invited to tell the story, progress, success of the Family Literacy Program so far.

About the Family Literacy Program – The Family Literacy Program is intended to bridge early reading strategies that can begin at home and can be applied in the classroom. This program directly shows the importance of providing families the opportunities to gain strategies and materials to help develop early literacy skills for young students. Strategies encourage native language support while developing second language acquisition. Engaging parents with school and community gives students more opportunities to develop academic language daily. This program will show how community businesses, schools, and the family can partner together to empower a student’s successful development of early literacy skills.

About the Northwest Good Deeds Team – As much as Northwest Exterminating is in the pest control business, we’re even more so in the people business. It’s that train of thinking that pushes us to think outside the box on how we can better serve the communities we live and work in; the creation of our Good Deeds Team came from just that. The Good Deeds team is an active part of the Northwest Family that seeks out and partners with local schools, businesses and organizations to create an impact throughout our communities. We love that we get the chance to help not only our customers protect their homes from pest, termites, mosquitoes, insulation, lawn, and wildlife issues but also help our communities become even better places to call home.