Oh, The Places We Go : Where in the World is Neuhaus?
When we are not busy in the building training educators, parents, and adult learners; our staff is often found in various locations across the globe facilitating even more learning!
In addition to our impact in Houston, we have hosted teachers from as close as Lufkin ISD and as far as Japan here in our building. Our Basic class included teachers from Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana. Neuhaus staff has taught on-site classes in Beeville, Victoria and Navasota. We have also connected through video conferencing with Nacogdoches ISD. We provided Basic Language Skills and Advanced Basic Language to therapists in training at William Carey College (Mississippi).
We offered Neuhaus Academy training in Mobile, Alabama and have presented at the Literacy Texas conference, the Oklahoma Department of Education’s State Conference, Cincinnati Public Schools, and our online courses continue to offer teachers outside of our area Neuhaus training. This summer, CEO and president Marybeth Flachbart, Ed. D., facilitated the Governor’s Literacy Committee in Idaho.
Last week, Dr. Flachbart was in Boise, Idaho, facilitating the monthly meeting of the Idaho Superintendents Network. The Idaho Superintendents Network of Support is a project developed by the State Department of Education in partnership with Boise State University's Center for School Improvement and Policy Studies to support the work of district leaders in improving outcomes for all students by focusing on the quality of instruction. The network is comprised of committed superintendents who work together to develop a cohesive and dedicated leadership community focused on teaching and learning. They support each other as they bring about change and collectively brainstorm obstacles that may prevent improvement in the quality of the instruction in their districts. The Department acts as a resource and provides the necessary research, experts, and planning to bring superintendents from across the state together to discuss self-identified issues.
This past weekend two of our staff members also presented at the Utah Council of the International Reading Association. Dr. Regina Boulware-Gooden, Vice President of School Improvement and Research, presented “Neuhaus Academy: Online Instruction for Older Students” and “Dyslexia 101: An introduction of what dyslexia is and isn’t.” Rosie Santana, Coordinator for English Language Learning Programs, presented, “Building Academic Language for English Language Learners.”
H. Lee Pryor, Literacy Initiatives Coordinator, will be traveling to Boise, Idaho in October. He will be presenting “Neuhaus Academy” to a group of middle and high school principals at the Network for Innovative School Leaders.
In November, a number of presentations will be given by Neuhaus staff will be at the upcoming International Dyslexia Association’s Annual Conference in San Diego, California. Senior Vice President of Innovative Solutions Suzanne Carreker, Ph.D., will present “21st Century Learning: Online Instruction for Adolescents and Adults” and co-presenting “What’s Up? IDA Initiatives from Professional Development, Publications, and Government Affairs Committee.” Vice President of Professional Development Mary Lou Slania, will be presenting “Nurturing Effective Writing” while Assistant Director of Professional Development Rai Thompson, will present “Building Strong Vocabulary in School-Age Children.”
Not only do our staff present on in-discipline topics, but out of discipline as well. Neuhaus has been working with the Greater Houston Partnership’s Early Matters Coalition. The Early Matters Coalition is a historic initiative comprised of a broad-based coalition of business, civic, education, philanthropic, and nonprofit organizations and volunteers, working together to raise awareness about the importance of high quality early education and to make a strong case for increased investment in this critical, high return-on-investment area. In August, we were proud to represent Neuhaus at the Coalition’s press conference at Sylvan Rodriguez Elementary School and Julie Jerden, Director of Advancement, was a facilitator at the Early Matters Summit on September 26 at Rice University. General Colin Powell, and businessman and philanthropist George Kaiser, were the two keynote speakers.
We also have a new project with the Children’s Museum of Houston (CMH), HISD and the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation (BBHLF) that will provide virtual training for volunteers in the schools. The Children’s Museum has developed FLIP (Family Literacy Involvement Program) kits that include a children’s book and a list of suggested activities for families. CMH currently has them available for check out at the museum, and in several local libraries. When we were first introduced to the kits last spring, we realized how terrific they would be in schools. By collaborating with the HISD, Children’s Museum of Houston, and the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, we were able to develop the project. Volunteers recruited by the Bush Foundation will use the kits, as well as Neuhaus strategies to teach foundational literacy skills to first graders in 30 area schools. The volunteer training will be done through short video segments (written by Dr. Carreker and starring Neuhaus staff) that can be accessed from the internet. The BBHLF, Wayne Dudleston Foundation, and Phillips 66 are underwriting the costs of developing the videos. Our goal is to replicate the project in other school districts across the greater Houston area.
Regardless of location, we are teaching, reading, and reaching. We all work together to support our mission of promoting reading success. In the immortal words of Dr. Suess, “ So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea, you're off to Great Places! Today is your day!”