The Board Masters! Making Connections at Our New School Site One Bulletin Board at a Time.


By Destiny Delaware & Lara Burt

ReadingCorps K-3 Team Moten

As ReadingCorps members, there were a few things at the Metro DC Reading Corps Summer Institute training in August that we learned upfront:

1)    how to do benchmark assessments and reading interventions

2)    how to make friends

3)    how complicated AmeriCorps logistics can be and,

4)    how to appreciate free food when living on a tight budget.

But, the one thing no one can truly teach is how to adjust to your new placement site. Each school, combined with each tutor’s experience, is unique and different.

We are assigned to Lucy E. Moten Elementary, a Pre-K to 5th grade school located in Washington, D.C.’s 8th Ward.  We didn’t know what to anticipate, and definitely had some jitters about our first day.  But the worry and apprehension dissipated as soon as we met our fellow staff members at professional development training. We were welcomed with open arms! Not only were many of the Moten staff interested in learning more about the ReadingCorps program, but also in getting to know us as individuals. They truly seemed grateful that we are there to help students become even better readers.

The staff’s appreciation for us reached a whole new level when we began taking on tasks around the school.  Our first week on site, teachers and staff were running around preparing their classrooms for the first day.  On top of all of that, they each had a bulletin board (or two…or three…) outside of their classrooms to decorate before the children arrived. And THAT’S where we came in.

The school secretary requested our help for the After School bulletin board outside of the cafeteria. We spent about 5 hours creating an abstract rainbow that drew the attention of many teachers. Compliments were dished out quite frequently, and soon, we were asked to help with more boards! And more boards…until we ended up on every floor!

As the week went on, we became more meticulous about each board we worked on. In fact, we bonded over our shared tendency for precision and perfection. By the time we got to cutting out what felt like our thousandth letter, we were no longer Lara and Destiny. Instead, we were dubbed  “The Board Masters.”

Now that school has started and all of the gleaming boards are finished, we are no longer on decoration duty. We get to be ReadingCorps members again, and turn our focus to serving the students. The children we’ve met are excited and eager to get to know us, and a few have even asked if we will tutor them. The school is filled with an overwhelming amount of positivity and has made us really excited for this upcoming year.

We’re ready to get things done! #ReadingCorps #MDCInstitute14 #TeamMoten