ISIDORO EARNS THE KEY TO THE BEE - United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County


Reading Program Helps Elementary Students Keep Pace
  • February 25, 2022
ISIDORO EARNS THE KEY TO THE BEE - United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County
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W-I-N-N-E-R. Winner. That’s how you spell Isidoro’s reading accomplishments and hard work.

A 4th grader, Isidoro spent two years participating in Ella Austin Community Center’s Intensive Reading Intervention (IRI) Program the dual language program to emerge as his school’s 3rd to 5th grade Spelling Bee champion!

The IRI Program, supporting United Way’s Successful Students Impact Council work, provides intensified instructional delivery, small reading groups, and increased learning time for participating students like Isidoro.

The program runs Monday through Friday during the academic school year, as well as extended hours during the summer months and school holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Spring Break.

Utilizing technology during virtual lessons, and on-site at Bowden Academy (SAISD) when possible, the Intensive Intervention staff incorporate the use of laptops or iPads, online video conferencing (Zoom), slide presentations, virtual classrooms, collaborative workspace through hybrid instruction using virtual and in-person instruction on computers, typing software, tablets, Canvas Learning software, Google Classroom, and Seesaw software for first graders. All these measures ensure that the students have continued intensive intervention reading lessons and ongoing comprehensive support.

Bowden Academy recently hosted a Community Art Night with the families, faculty and students from both Bowden and Lamar Elementary (SAISD) communities. Ella Austin’s Intensive Reading Intervention (IRI) program was represented, with staff giving out free books and providing information about the program. A number of parents from Lamar expressed their interest in their children enrolling in the IRI program. The event was an enormous success, showcasing the students’ talents and creativity. Over 120 people attended with their families, while accessing information to benefit the future of the next generation.

A student’s reading level by the completion of 3rd grade is a known predictor of a student’s academic performance and whether they will graduate on time. At United Way, we are working with our nonprofit partners, including Ella Austin Community Center, to increase the number of diverse reading programs for children that provide individualized learning, engaging topics and continuous monitoring to guide these young students to reading success.

Ella Austin Community Center was the first, and remains one of the only nonprofits, offering comprehensive social services in the eastern sector of the city. In 1897, Mrs. Ella Austin, a respected African American who was committed to serving her community, founded Ella Austin Orphans Home. When she died at the age of 46, her life’s work was taken up by community members, and through their philanthropic efforts, her vision has been kept alive.

Today, the nonprofit is a multi-purpose service agency offering affordable day care, parenting classes, youth and family services including after school and summer youth programs, assistance to individuals and families in crisis of food, clothing, and utility assistance, as well as senior nutrition and activities.

Thanks to Ella Austin and the Intensive Reading Program, Isidoro’s success in reading is all the “buzz.” He can “bee” anything. Can you spell WINNER?!

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