In the Spring of 2021, HHES Principal Josh Robertson, then-Associate Principal Meredith Gannon, and the school’s Building Leadership Team created an ambitious goal: To have every HHES student read at grade level by 3rd Grade. The reason behind this building-wide objective? According to Robertson, “Research shows having strong reading skills at 3rd grade predicts a student’s level of high school academic achievement, what courses they end up taking later, and even whether or not they end up graduating.” The HHES staff rallied around this goal and have been collaborating in grade level teams this fall to focus on reading skills, TK-Grade 5. Former Librarian Sandra Stroup secured an OSPI grant for new books and over the summer teamed up with volunteers and the PWT to refresh the school’s library.
When new HHES Associate Principal Kathy Pacheco and ASB Advisor Beth Tugaw learned of the initiative, they recognized a win-win opportunity. “HHS students are so impressive,” says Pacheco. “I wanted them to have a chance to show their leadership and inspire others. I also wanted to support Josh and his building in developing strong readers.” Tugaw added that the idea of HHS students giving back so HHES students could move forward was “just a great fit for both schools.”
So on Oct. 5 the first group of ASB Leaders showed up to lead story time with 1st Grade students.
The next week even Howie the Hawk, the HHS mascot, got into the act and participated in the read-aloud!
Pacheco and Tugaw think the Hawks-to-Hornets program has the makings of a new tradition for both schools. “Our students love it," said Tugaw. “And the elementary students do, too. They look up to our high school students so much.”