State awards Garden City elementary students in reading program

GARDEN CITY, Kan. Children at Garden City's Gertrude Walker Elementary School are recognized with a statewide award for excelling with books.The school is one of the recipients of the 2017 Challenge Award for closing the achievement gap in fourth-grade-level reading.

The award was made possible thanks to after-school programs like the Kansas Reading Roadmap that focuses on literary skills.

Gertrude Walker Elementary stands out with students' ability to become better reads, 'making outstanding gains". There are about one dozen languages spoken in the school and for the majority, English is their second language.

"The struggle we have is we have translators for Spanish. And we have translators for Burmese because that is a very high population of our demographics within Garden City schools but we can't have a translator for every language," says Jamie Schweer, Kansas Reading Roadmap coordinator for Gertrude Walker Elementary.

Schweer says the students were excited to see their efforts rewarded.

"And to see their like eyes light up and they're like ah! You can tell they got it and they're excited and their self-esteem goes up," she says. "They feel more confident about things. They're not afraid to read in front of others anymore."