Harwin literacy gets big boost

The Harwin Elementary community will soon have the chance to CLAW and ROAR, thanks to a recent literacy grant.

"The names fit really well with the school motto," says principal Nevio Rossi, "which is 'When you walk the halls of Harwin, you walk with Lions."

CLAW (Community Literacy At Work) and ROAR (Rally On As Readers) will both receive funding through a $60,000 grant from the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation. Rossi says the school fit the criteria well.

"We are classified as an inner-city school, which was one of the criteria. We also have a high level of Aboriginal students and ESL (English as a second language) students, so there is a need for reading programs."

School administration took the ideas for the programs to staff, and a literacy team was formed to work on the application.

"It was a lot of hard work," Rossi says. "We started in October and November and submitted the application at the end of February."

It wasn't just people inside the school who worked on the proposal.

"We got a lot of help from school and district-based staff, including Monica Berra and Truman Spring. The Parents Advisory Committee at the school was also very involved."

Rossi says the grant will enhance the programs, which are already being worked on.

"We had already started work on them. We applied to the district for a minor renovation for an office, to make it more comfortable as a community room."

CLAW will make use of that office, focusing on young families in the community reading with students. ROAR is a school-wide Aboriginal theme-based reading program.

"The application had to show how the programs would enhance literacy in the community as well as the school," Rossi says.

The literacy team is now working on an implementation plan for the grant.

"This is where the hard work really starts," Rossi says. "The implementation is always the toughest part."

With the Indigo grant in place, however, that job will be made easier.

"We're good to go any time we want to," he says. "They've given us the green light to buy materials we need to to enhance the programs."


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