Clark State to host first Literacy Summit in state

Graham, United Way, area chambers of commerce and CRSI involved with summit

Submitted story

SPRINGFIELD – Clark State Community College has partnered with Graham Local Schools, the United Way of Clark, Champaign and Madison Counties and Battelle for Kids to present the 2018 Literacy Summit on Jan. 23.

Kirk Koennecke, superintendent of Graham Local Schools, said the Literacy Summit is the first regional literacy event in the state.

“Clark State and Graham collaborated on this important literacy event with Battelle for Kids and the United Way because we have been involved in promoting our county literacy foundations together for two years,” he said.

Featured speakers will include Dr. Jo Alice Blondin, president of Clark State; Dr. Melissa M. Weber-Mayrer, early literacy administrator with the Ohio Department of Education; Dr. Karen Garza, executive director, Battelle for Kids; and Cris Tovani, teacher, author and professional consultant specializing in literacy.

“Literacy is at the heart of community prosperity and economic development,” said Blondin. “Research shows that early achievement in literacy impacts students positively for the rest of their lives, whether in educational attainment, income levels or health and wellness. Clark State wants to ensure early literacy as well as draw a direct path to higher education and a career.”

Weber-Mayrer is the early literacy administrator for the Center for Curriculum and Assessment with the Ohio Department of Education. She will share the initiatives of ODE in the area of literacy, including the new Striving Readers Grant.

Garza is the executive director of Battelle for Kids in Columbus. Her work is helping establish a common vision of what all students need to become lifelong learners and contributors in the 21st century. Battelle’s network hopes to reach a tipping point in this country that creates positive momentum toward transforming educational opportunities for all students.

Tovani earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Colorado. She is the author of several books, including this year’s work (Not This But That) No More Telling as Teaching: Less Lecture, More Engaged Learning. Tovani has presented her work all over the United States as well as Canada, Australia and other venues around the world.

“Any educator pre-k through 8 and any interested community member should attend to learn how to incorporate the methods and planning that will be demonstrated into their community and school district’s plans,” Koennecke said. “There will be forums and focus groups for community action planning and several, quality break-out sessions for all from The Ohio State University, Battelle for Kids, DSD Professional Development, INFOhio and several area districts.”

The Literacy Summit will also feature a panel of students from Clark State. Andy Ortman, Emily Copeland and Jenny Harned will present sample work regarding early literacy experiences at Clark State. The students – a recent Early Childhood Education graduate, a recent transfer graduate and a second-year Early Childhood Education student – will share their own creations to support literacy and how they’ve experienced working with children through Clark State.

“Clark State is very proud to support the Ohio Literacy Summit,” said Theresa Felder, vice president of student affairs and Greene Center operations for Clark State. “We understand the importance of literacy in preparing students for success in higher education and in the workforce. The Summit will provide a powerful learning experience for Ohio’s educators from preschool through college as well as community organizations that support literacy.”

The Literacy Summit is sponsored by the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, Champaign County Chamber Commerce, Madison County Chamber of Commerce and CRSI. Madison-Champaign Educational Service Center, Champaign County Literacy Foundation, Kids Read Now, Council on Rural Services and EnvisionEd are providing support and resources for participants.

Koennecke said there is no more important barrier to conquer than poverty in the region, and early literacy resources, support and programs can do that.

“Early literacy is the key to long-term success, not just for learners and families, but for citizens and communities,” he said. “Literacy achievement combats poverty, raises opportunities for educational attainment and helps build and sustain strong communities.”

The Ohio Literacy Summit will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 23, at the Hollenbeck Bayley Creative Arts and Conference Center, 275 S. Limestone St. in downtown Springfield. Registration begins at 7 a.m., followed by the program from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Registration fee is $75 per person or $250 for a group of four (plus $60 each additional guest). Registration includes breakfast and lunch.

Registration is also available online at:

Graham, United Way, area chambers of commerce and CRSI involved with summit

Submitted story

Submitted by Clark State Community College.

Submitted by Clark State Community College.