AFT Affiliates in Detroit Kick Off Literacy Training Camp

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Members of Detroit's AFT-affiliated education unions are being joined by Detroit Public Schools students, parents, community sponsors and a member of the National Football League Players Association on Aug. 9 to kick off a Back-to-School Literacy Training Camp.

The goal of the free camp is to help DPS students in grades 4-7 fight summer learning loss and start the school year better prepared for the upcoming statewide standardized tests (the Michigan Educational Assessment Program, or MEAP). The camp is the brainchild of the Detroit Association of Educational Office Employees, the Detroit Federation of Paraprofessionals and the Detroit Federation of Teachers, whose members staff the camp as "learning coaches" working with students to hone their literacy skills for the upcoming academic year.

Stephanie Carreker, Detroit. Photo by Jim West.

Detroit School of Arts clerical worker Stephanie Carreker helps reinforce literacy skills. Photo by Jim West.

"Our unions realize that improving education is more than showing up for work during the school year," says DAEOE president and AFT vice president Ruby Newbold. "You have to engage the kids and the community year-round and get everyone excited about school and learning."

The camp is being co-sponsored by the Health Alliance Plan, which provided substantial resources and school supplies for the camp. Former pro football player Nolan Harrison also will make an appearance at the event, courtesy of the NFLPA.

"It is wonderful to see so many different people and organizations involved in this effort," says DFT president and AFT vice president Keith Johnson. "This camp shows what's possible when unions, parents, the business community and other stakeholders work together to put education first."

The camp runs from Aug. 9 to 13 at the Detroit Federation of Teachers offices. More information is available online at www.AStrongerDetroitforOurKids.org.
[AFT press release, video by Matthew Jones.]

August 9, 2010