San Benito County Literacy Summit. Photo: San Benito County Office of Education

Krystal Lomanto, County Superintendent of Schools hosted the county’s first Literacy Summit on Jan. 25 at the Veterans Memorial Building in downtown Hollister. 

SBCOE Director of Curriculum & Instruction and Equity & Access, Mai Cruz, coordinated the event, which featured nationally renowned speaker and educator, Dr. Kate Kinsella. The summit brought together parents, educators and community members to learn how they can support literacy for students throughout San Benito County.

Literacy is arguably the most crucial factor in determining whether a student will succeed in school and beyond. Research indicates that students who do not arrive to kindergarten with adequate literacy skills are significantly less likely to meet College & Career Readiness benchmarks throughout their entire academic career. 

Moreover, those who are not reading at grade level by fourth grade are highly unlikely to meet any College & Career Readiness benchmarks by high school graduation. These students are at the highest risk of dropping out of school, engaging in high-risk behaviors and becoming involved with juvenile protection and law enforcement agencies. 

San Benito County Office of Education is actively working to improve literacy in the county through its Building Bridges2Literacy Initiative. As one part of the initiative, SBCOE’s Literacy Summit focused on how to improve student literacy by educating adults about strategies and activities they can use to build literacy skills throughout each student’s academic career. 

Attendees heard from keynote speaker, Dr. Kate Kinsella, and participated in Roundtable Discussions led by local educational leaders and partners including Hollister Elementary School District, Navigator Schools, North County Joint Union School District, San Benito High School District, Footstep2Brilliance, and Scholastic. 

Roundtable discussions focused on how to support literacy for preschool, elementary, middle and high school students as well as for multilingual learners and struggling readers. The highlight of the evening was the recognition of the top 15 readers from the County Superintendent’s Winter Reading Challenge who were honored at the event.

Those top 15 readers are: Joseph Zacharie Eduarte, Cerra Vista Elementary; Olivia Canning, Rancho Santana Elementary; Bingham McCraw, Panoche Elementary; Daniel Huerta, Rancho Santana Elementary; Norman Glenn Campos, Sunnyslope Elementary; Conor Ballinger, Spring Grove School; Emmanuel Diaz, Spring Grove School; Charlotte Inman, Hollister Dual Language Academy; Kennedy Miller, R.O. Hardin Elementary; Sarah Southivongnorath, Spring Grove School; Aiden Perlera, Sunnyslope Elementary; Logan Kreuzer, Rancho Santana Elementary; Nikita Hung, Rancho Santana Elementary; Ariana Rodriguez, Cerra Vista Elementary; Natallia Tapia, Rancho Santana Elementary.

San Benito County Office of Education would like to thank our sponsors: California Mutual Insurance Company, Footsteps2Brilliance, LG Sign Co., Mechanics Bank, Mindful Healing Therapeutic Services, Nexus Ed Solutions, Scholastic, Dona Esther, DiBuduo & DeFendis Insurance Brokers, and VFW Post 9242/American Legion Post 69 with special appreciation to the VFW Post 9242/American Legion Post 69 who provided the venue and catered the event.

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  1. Hmmm. Where’s details of this ‘initiative’? Sure, a ‘summit’ with al ot of talk, including from literacy marketers from companies paid by the districts (though I see no transcripts of what was discussed, no substance of any kind). What exactly is the plan for increasing literacy in SB?

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