Written By: Hans Appel
“We build a culture of readers by establishing a school-wide learning community where students have equal access and opportunity to books, activities, adult models of readers, and reinforcement of the value of reading.”
In her landmark book, “Lead with Literacy”, Ellis makes a strong case urging educators to lead with: Passion, Immersion, Rapport, Ask & Analyze, Transformation, and Enthusiasm. Furthermore, she explains “If we as leaders and educators aren’t serving as strong models of lifelong reading, we cannot expect our students to become readers; they will follow our example far more readily than they will heed our words.”
Following Ellis’ advice, I’ve been reading, writing and thinking A LOT about what makes an #AwardWinningCulture...
Award Winning Culture thrives when educational leaders create special opportunities designed to promote personalized literacy exploration.
At Enterprise Middle School, I’m fortunate to work with some outstanding literacy leaders including our incredible librarian, Michelle Lane. Michelle is a forward thinking literacy advocate who has created an absolutely epic annual event called Cavalcade of Authors (COA). Since 2007, Michelle and her team of volunteers have been planning, organizing, and leading a writing conference where secondary students across our region are given access to some of the best Young Adult authors of our modern era. There are writing contests, featured book talks, panel discussions and autograph sessions. COA provides students a chance to learn and interact with the very authors whose books they are reading.
The authors are given the full #WildcatNation VIP (Very Interesting Person) treatment with an adult event the night before, red carpet entrance, and all of their needs met with exceptional hospitality and service.
But if all Michelle accomplished throughout the year was one incredible event, her passion for creating lifelong readers might fall short of Ellis’ push for consistent daily literacy opportunities. Instead, Michelle brings an unmatched enthusiasm for helping all students develop a love for reading and writing EVERYDAY! She creates incredible book talks for students, even facilitating student voice with student book recommendations. She creates crazy over the top activities like her March Madness book bracket, where students can vote on their top book. Furthermore, she’s committed to creating a safe, open space for all students. She meets with various student groups to ensure our library offers the type of literature that students desire and makes an intentional point of creating relationships with some of our most high needs students. By creating a warm, welcome place for all of #WildcatNation she ensures the library is a hub of literary diversity.
With a school focused on Character, Excellence, and Community, I’m grateful to work with such an exceptional literacy leader. Armed with a summer of rest and reflection, I’m excited to see what #FutureDriven ideas Michelle has to keep reading and writing a school-wide obsession.
How will you turn up the dial on your school’s passion for literacy?
About the Author
Hans Appel, has been a school counselor in the Richland School District for the past 17 years and at Enterprise Middle School since it opened. He's passionate about school culture, servant leadership, and kindness.
Enterprise Middle School received the 2018 ASCD Whole Child Award in Washington, for its award winning culture and the 2018 Global "Class Act Award" for Kindness. By creating a culture of kindness, service, and empathy we've taken student leadership to an epic level.