Eva Zackrison won a standing ovation after she reported the progress she made with reading skills.
The Santa Barbara High School told her story at the Love of Literacy Luncheon, which the Santa Barbara Education Foundation hosted Sept. 29 at Elings Park’s Godric Grove.
The outdoor Santa Barbara event raised more than $30,000 to train Santa Barbara Unified School District teachers in methods to identify and more effectively teach students who are struggling with reading. The emphasis is also on methods to help emergent multilingual learners and students with disabilities, including those who show characteristics of dyslexia.
Eva noted that with the school district’s help, she made gains in her reading skills, even under the challenging circumstances of remote learning and the post-COVID-19 return to the classroom.
“I feel more comfortable and confident with my words per minute going up,” Eva said. “I started seventh grade with 30 words per minute and ended 10th grade with 140 words. Thank you, Santa Barbara Unified School District, for making this possible!”
Also at the luncheon, Santa Barbara County Supervisor Gregg Hart discussed his perspective on literacy as a son of an elementary school teacher and a librarian.
He noted that not all students have the same opportunity. “We need to have a system that embraces everybody and their learning needs.”
Superintendent Dr. Hilda Maldonado compared the district’s approach to staff development in literacy to giving teachers options or road maps to help students reach the ultimate goal of meeting standards.
“We want teachers that understand that they are all teachers of academic language and literacy and that they continue to affirm the unique gifts every student brings to school while building their capacity to become a more proficient reader,” said Dr. Maldonado.
The luncheon was emceed by Santa Barbara Unified board member Wendy Sims-Moten.
For more information, visit www.santabarbaraeducation.org.