Kristen Campbell • Derry Member

Editor’s Note: On the first Thursday of each month, the eNews feature article highlights the mission focus for the month. In August we’re lifting up Education of Children. You can find the current month’s mission focus in the Joys & Concerns section of the weekly eNews.

Monica Reinnagel is the librarian at Foose Elementary School who was instrumental in helping establish the Reading Mentor Program and select the books.

The Harrisburg School District Reading Mentor Program was developed during the height of the pandemic last fall, so that relatable and familiar mentors, educators, parents, and members of the local community could collaborate to provide reading and learning opportunities for children in Harrisburg. The goal was to keep students engaged in learning during the 2020-21 school year while they were virtual due to COVID-19. To this end, local community leaders were invited to read books that inspired them and reference their personal growth story while recording a video to support the academic, social, and emotional growth of Harrisburg’s students.

Derry Church provided funding for the pilot program that was conducted at Foose School. Leaders from the community — a State Representative, teacher, librarian, doctor, and several health administrators — submitted videos to YouTube. The videos have received hundreds of views over the last six months and are educational, creative, thoughtful, and heartwarming.

Thanks to the success of the pilot program, the Harrisburg Public Schools Foundation (HPSF) awarded $2,000 to Ben Franklin, Downey, Melrose and Scott Elementary Schools in Harrisburg for the purchase of culturally appropriate books to be shared on YouTube.

Coronavirus highlighted the growing need for creativity in learning, especially in particular communities where access and resource availability is limited. The program provided Harrisburg School District students with the flexibility to read and learn on their own schedule, thereby improving literacy, maximizing potential, and shaping a brighter future.

Click this link to view the YouTube videos:
Harrisburg School District Reading Mentor Program