One of my earliest memories as a child was learning to read. Having a strong foundation of literacy has
led me to become the accomplished person that I am today. What we know is, if children do not have a
strong foundation in literacy by the third grade, the consequences are dire and ripple throughout the
span of their lives. Research shows that 1 in 4 children in America grow up without learning how to read.
Those children are four times more likely to drop out of high school, four times more likely to be
arrested, and are more likely to suffer from unemployment and poverty. As a District, it is imperative
that we build a strong foundation of literacy for our students so that they have the best chance at life.
One of the core priorities of Shelby County Schools is Strengthening Early Literacy. We know that
without a strong foundation in literacy, children are left behind in the beginning of their education. I am
calling upon males in the greater Memphis community to join me in Reimagining 901 through improving
literacy. Among the many tools that are made available to students, the SCS Home Engagement
Incentive Program is one that incentivizes PreK through 3 rd grade students, parents, and school staff for
encouraging engagement with literacy tools beyond the school walls. This program utilizes fun and
captivating videos that teach phonics and reinforce foundational literacy skills through music and
kinesthetic learning. Students are encouraged to watch at least 20 minutes of content a night to not only
support literacy gains, but to also win incentives for participating. Parents, teachers, and principals are
also eligible for monetary incentives for their support and encouragement of student participation.
Funding for this incentive program totals $17,000. This cost covers weekly prizes for students per grade
band, program prizes for students valued at up to $100 per grade band, and monetary prizes for
parents, teachers, and principals of $1,000 per grade band. I ask that you support us in ensuring literacy
gains for our students by committing $1,000 toward this program. In return, we will include mention of
your contribution in a promotional program video, we will recognize you though our broadcasting
channels, 88.5 and C19, and will invite you to join us at a thank you reception at the culmination of the
program. Your contribution is also tax deductible. The program will launch in mid-November through
Many of you, like myself, can attribute our success to many tangible skills, including literacy. I hope that
you will join me in building a strong foundation of literacy for the success of our children.