Ticket to Promotion: A new program in the St. Paul, Minn., schools requires students from kindergarten through 12th grade to read at least 25 books this school year to advance to the next grade or graduate.
Called St. Paul Reads, the program is coordinated by the 45,000-student school system, the city, Ramsey County, and community and business groups.
The 25-book requirement will be one of the criteria teachers use when deciding whether students will be promoted to the next grade level.
The ultimate aim, organizers of the program say, is to boost literacy and get all residents of the city reading.
In addition to students, the program asks parents and all school and city employees to read 25 books this year.
The program, which includes an extensive media campaign, calls on adults to volunteer their time in schools and asks businesses to help provide financial support and set up reading and mentoring programs between employees and students.
"We need the involvement of everyone to continue building a reading community that will ensure the continued high quality of living we've enjoyed in St. Paul," Norm Coleman, the mayor, said in a prepared statement.
Faith and Schools: Public officials, ecumenical leaders and scholars are expected to gather in Philadelphia early next month for a national conference bringing together educators and religious leaders to talk about their work with young people.
The U.S. Department of Education has joined with the National Council of Churches and the Philadelphia school district to sponsor "Faith Communities and Public Schools: Building on Common Ground." The event is planned for Nov. 7-10.
Speakers are expected to include U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley and Philadelphia Superintendent David W. Hornbeck; ecumenical leaders, such as the Rev. Charles G. Adams of Detroit, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. of Chicago, and Rabbi David Saperstein; and scholars Christopher Edley Jr., Charles C. Haynes, and Lisbeth B. Schorr. Marian Wright Edelman, the president of the Children's Defense Fund, is also expected to attend.
More information is available by calling (215) 299-7307. Information about the event can also be found on the Web at www.phila.k12.pa.us/offices/frn/faith_ conf.html.
--Kerry A. White & Alan Richard
Vol. 19, Issue 9, Page 8