On Thursday, I attended Chalkbeat’s listening session at the Benjamin Hooks Library along with other Stand members. The session gave teachers, parents, and community members an opportunity to discuss early childhood literacy, quality pre-k and other issues affecting K-3 students. Questions were provided to guide each table discussion while Chalkbeat journalists listened in to hear the concerns and stories of educators and community members.
While this event was meant as a way to gain ideas for future Chalkbeat reporting, it also provided a chance for Stand members to connect with the community. Attending the listening tour provided insight into how our community feels about the status of early childhood literacy of Memphis youth and how quality pre-k is essential to increase early literacy rates and students’ overall academic success later on.
It was refreshing to hear parents voice questions and opinions about the need for a system that works for all children and what steps should be taken to get there. Questions from “What is pre-k?” to those pertaining to the state’s definition of quality pre-k, income levels, and factors that determine a child’s eligibility for pre-k, were all welcomed without judgment.
As the Communications and Community Engagement Manager for Stand Tennessee, this event provided me with a new perspective on the types of community events we could host in the future to hear more from you about the education issues that you care about most. If you have any ideas or topics that we should consider for townhalls, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to hearing your recommendations!