January 23, 2014
The Transformative Powers of New Reading Centers and New Partnerships
Elsa serves as Reading Partners Site Coordinator at Cesar Chavez Elementary School in San Jose, California
Expanding to Cesar Chavez Elementary
Expanding to a new school comes with new challenges and a lot of hard work, but the benefits far outweigh any obstacles. Each time Reading Partners expands to a new community, we learn to navigate and adapt to our new surroundings right along with our students.
Reading Partners’ new Silicon Valley school site, Cesar Chavez Elementary, in the Mayfair neighborhood of East San Jose has given us the opportunity to learn about a culturally rich community and create valuable local partnerships in the process. The school has close ties to its namesake; murals of Chavez decorate the walls as a constant reminder that hard work, perseverance, and community efforts have transformative powers.
Building Community Partnerships
The school is lucky to have the dedicated support of its friends and neighbors in the Mayfair community. Reading Partners has partnered with a grassroots community organization, Somos Mayfair, to provide essential volunteer tutors for our program.
This local partnership has helped us immensely with recruiting tutors, by tapping into the resources and relationships they have already built in the community. Some of the Somos Mayfair staff even volunteer with us!
New Tutor/Student Partnerships
Christina Pham is a Resource Development Associate at Somos Mayfair who also volunteers as a Reading Partners’ tutor. Christina’s story illuminates the benefits of a dedicated tutor and one-on-one support for one (formerly) shy Chavez student:
When Christina Pham first met Matthew, a first-grade student at Cesar Chavez Elementary in East San Jose, he barely said a word. The two have been paired together for nearly a month now and neither can hide the grins on their faces when Christina picks Matthew up from class. Matthew discusses his love of the book Buffy by Bob Graham and his desire to design airplanes when he grows up. He also bonds with Christina over their shared passion for their favorite food, ice cream.
With the careful instruction from Christina, Matthew has breezed through three levels of curriculum and is showing a more vocal presence both inside the reading center and in his classroom.
When asked for her thoughts on Reading Partners, Christina states, “Building relationships with adults who encourage children to read and write can be a transformative power in achieving success, especially in early literacy.” She is one of five Somos Mayfair staff members who work full-time, but have dedicated their free time to tutoring students at Cesar Chavez Elementary with Reading Partners.
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