Four representatives from Generations Incorporated, a literacy organization that strives to develop Greater Boston’s youngest readers, attended the Lectio Institute in 2015. Here’s what they had to say about their team’s experience:
What challenges were you facing at Generations Incorporated prior to the Institute you attended?
We weren’t exactly certain what we needed to do to improve our organization, but we knew we needed to make some changes that would help us re-calibrate our overarching goals, validate our effectiveness, and delineate a clear message for partners and stakeholders. We were working really hard and needed to gain more clarity around what we do, why we do it, and how much of a difference we make.
What about the Lectio approach resonated with you, and specifically applied to your work?
The three days proved to be a thoughtful learning experience and an exciting opportunity to reflect on, really, the impressive work we do. As we listened to the research findings around literacy and began to think strategically in the way that Lectio encourages, we came to the realization that our organization was trying to be everything to everyone and in so doing, losing what was most important to our success; focused intentionality around what works best for children.
With heads spinning and the validation we had hoped for, the entire staff came together to reignite the desire to help support our schools, our teachers, and our communities in developing students’ hunger to be lifelong readers. We made some specific changes to what we do, including:
- sunsetting programs and projects that took us away from doing what we knew, post-Lectio, was necessary for student impact;
- creating a mandate that energy and resources should be spent on only those efforts that can directly be evaluated for effectiveness, and;
- building up our staff training so that there is a shared understanding of best practice in reading instruction.
We just have to add that our organization continues to reflect back on our time at Lectio and build upon the mountain of institute takeaways. We were truly grateful for the opportunity to participate.
*Pictured above (from left to right): Jennie Woo, Virginia Bridgeman, Mary Gunn, Sal Cammarata, Phoebe Whitwell, Venecia Mumford, Phil Waters, Liz MacNeil (front), Leah Hoang (front), Kendra Mrozek, Katie Brown, Lisa Higgins, Megan White