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Get Troup Reading Summit sees close to 130 attendees

On Saturday, Feb. 8 about 125 community members joined together for the first-ever Get Troup Reading Summit (GTR) at West Georgia Technical College’s Callaway Conference Center.

The summit was hosted by a number of community entities, including, Troup County School System, Troup County Center for Strategic Planning, Troup Family Connection Authority and the United Way of West Georgia.

According to a press release from TCSS, the purpose of GTR is to increase the community’s awareness of the importance of children reading on grade level.

The organizations hope the attendees are now able to take their learnings and share in the responsibility of helping local children, their families, and ultimately, the entire community in educating kids from birth to adulthood. Childcare and some school system employees were able to receive continuing education credits for attending the day-long event.

Dynamic speakers shared their expertise in the areas of child development and grade level reading. They were:

  • Get Georgia Reading Director Arianne Weldon, shared many factors that affect grade level reading. She told the attendees that child care teacher qualifications, school climate, attendance in school, and poverty are just a few of those factors that affect a child’s ability to read. 
  • House of Representatives member Randy Nix encouraged the group to be intentional with time when working with children because time goes by so quickly and every week counts.
  • Dr. Garry McGiboney, Deputy Superintendent, Office of School Safety and Climate at the Georgia Department of Education, stressed the importance of a positive school climate in early learning centers and in our schools.
  • Dr. Lacey Southerland, Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Youth Development at Point University, discussed the importance of early learning from birth and beyond and shared an example of a local program called the Chattahoochee Early Learning Academy for three-year-olds that opened in West Point in 2019.
  • Judge Michael Key, Troup County Juvenile Court, shared how trauma and adverse experiences in the lives of children affect their learning outcomes.
  • Deana Brown, Director of Elementary Education with the Troup County School System, stressed how the elementary schools are assessing student levels in reading, teaching them at appropriate levels, and aiming to urgently close achievement gaps.
  • Dr. Brian Shumate, Superintendent of Troup County School System, shared his gratitude for the community coming alongside the school system to strengthen efforts in regards to children reading on grade level.

According to the press release, in the future Get Troup Reading plans to share more of the Get Georgia Reading Campaign.