Monday, December 16, 2013

The Gift of Knowledge

During the holiday period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, every Spring Branch ISD third-grade student received “the gift of knowledge” as part of an intentional giving program sponsored by the district's Community Relations Team through the national Dictionary Project program.

Third-graders took home a gift dictionary along with supporting lessons about spelling, reading and proper word use. That’s a holiday message with a strong meaning!

A grant this year from the Houston CPA Society along with continuing financial support from individual community sponsors and organizations made the local distribution of about 2,500 dictionaries possible once again.

The Dictionary Project in SBISD was created more than a decade ago when one Housman Elementary School volunteer, Ormonde Smith, spotted a Wall Street Journal article about the Dictionary Project, an effort to promote language arts skills among the young by giving them a main tool for reading, spelling and oral pronunciation.

Ormonde’s dictionary distribution project soon grew from one school, Housman, to an expanding district effort. Ormonde, who died several years ago at 96, and his wife, Margaret, led fundraising and distribution efforts for years through the couple’s friends and their local church.

Margaret, at 93, is not able to physically hand out dictionaries any longer. She is aware of the special impact that continuing donations have had in this program.

The Houston CPA Society donation will be used over two years and paired with other donors to meet the needs at all SBISD elementary schools, reports Abby Walker, coordinator for strategic partnerships and volunteer programs.

“We aligned all of our school presentations with the holiday season to ensure that each student receives a ‘gift of knowledge.’ SBISD Community Relations believes a donation to programs like the Dictionary Project continues to impact the students in SBISD long after it is initially received,” Coordinator Walker says.

To become a Dictionary Project donor or to join SBISD’s Good Neighbors program, please call 713.251.2286 or learn more at our program website:


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