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McElwain uses the Power of Stories to reach community

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McElwain uses the Power of Stories to reach community

The McElwain community is proud to share our experience with the "Power of Stories" program we implemented for the first time during the 2021-2022 school year. The "Power of Stories” program was made possible through a $10,000 grant we received to provide high-quality bilingual books for students and teachers. A BIG shout out and thank you needs to be extended to Susan Josephs from Hoopoe Books, who is solely responsible for getting us this incredible grant. She worked tirelessly with us to ensure that we got the materials and support we needed. Thank you, Susan! We are so grateful for you.

Grant items included instructional supports like lesson plans, reader’s theater scripts, audio recordings, video read alouds, and more. The fiction stories are based on tales told in oral tradition in and around Afghanistan and the Middle East for centuries. The nonfiction stories address life skills like Social Emotional Learning (SEL).

Copies are published on-demand based on school need. Each student & staff member in K-2 received a copy of The Clever Boy and the Terrible, Dangerous Animal and The Lion Who Saw Himself in the Water. All students & staff in 3rd-5th received a copy of The Magic Horse and Neem the Half-Boy. All titles are written by Idries Shah. Hoopoe publishes 20 titles in 8 languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Arabic, Urdu, Pashto, and Dari, with more languages on the way.

Books are available in English, or you can order bilingual versions with English and any of the other languages mentioned. That flexibility really served us well. We surveyed our teachers to ensure we ordered the right books in the right language for the right students.

Students and parents enjoyed the stories both at school and at home. Kids were thrilled to see books written in both English and their heritage languages. Every student got 2 books to keep, and we added many culturally-relevant titles to our school library.

Here is a more detailed presentation about this program if you're interested:

This story exemplifies our ELEVATE Focus Area: Diverse Learning. Sharing stories of how students receive engaging learning experiences and the focused-attention they need through appropriate student-to-staff ratios and varied programming.