In Nov. 2019, Madison Elementary School Counselor Sheila Kinyon-Johnson spoke at the Iowa School Counselors Association (ISCA) Annual Conference. Kinyon-Johnson’s presentation outlined the REA(2)CH program she began at Madison, how it benefits students, and how other schools can implement it as well.
During the 2018-2019 school year, Kinyon-Johnson brought the REA(2)CH (reading, arithmetic, attendance, communication, and homework) program to Madison. Participating families would pledge to practice reading and math with their student for a set amount of time each night, ensure homework completion, answer all teacher communications, and meet an attendance requirement. Parents of students who met these goals would then earn recognition on the parent honor roll each quarter. By implementing this program, Kinyon-Johnson found greater parental involvement and better academic performance among participants.
Kinyon-Johnson requested to speak about this experience to benefit other school counselors and got word that the ISCA accepted her proposal to present in Aug. 2019. Though she found presenting somewhat nerve-wracking, she valued getting to share what she learned with other counselors to help more kids. “I was excited when I found out my proposal was selected for this year’s conference. This involved me talking to so many school counselors across the state, so of course I felt a bit nervous . . . (but) I knew in my heart, the depth of this program (and) my passion for it to succeed was far more powerful than the nerves that were creeping up towards the conference.”
As Kinyon-Johnson works to spread the REA(2)CH program across the state, she has done much to bring it to even more students at Madison, too. By extending it to all grades, Kinyon-Johnson hopes to extend its benefits to even more students. She also hopes to make it more accessible to families by creating online logs for it when school starts again next week. She hopes this will continue to increase participation from parents, students, and teachers. “Working together on a common goal . . . student success and parent involvement, then everyone wins. It is important to always, always remember that the students come first. We are in education to make a difference, to the best of our abilities. for our students,” Kinyon-Johnson emphasized.