Garfield Elementary School, 2435 Alabama Avenue SE, Washington, D.C., is being honored this year for its renewed school spirit and eager participation in Community Nights sponsored by Guild organizational member, Turning the Page (TTP).  During the Guild’s Nonfiction Award Celebration on April 17, Garfield principal Angela Tilghman accepted a basket of books written, illustrated and donated by Guild members, as well as books donated by Nonfiction Award Winner Sy Montgomery.  Tilghman was especially excited about the positive attention since many children who attend Garfield live in the neighborhood where a recent shooting spree killed four young people.

During this current school year, 75 parents attended at least one Turning the Page Community Night, a 63 percent increase from the previous year.  Fourteen parents attended at least three Community Nights, earning a Certificate of Completion from Turning the Page.

Tilghman is new to Garfield this year. During Community Nights, parents often praise her for the new spirit she has brought to the school.  She even wears Garfield’s yellow and green as a sign of her support and a way of encouraging each person to take pride in the school.

Erika Widmeyer at Turning the Page recalled telling “Ms. Tilghman that Turning the Page was bringing Guild author, Fred Bowen to the school for a visit. I was very impressed with how excited Ms. Tilghman was right away.  Right off the bat she engaged her teachers and students in his visit.  She found Fred’s KidsPost column in the paper and brought it to the attention of her teachers at a staff meeting.”

With the support of this strong leadership, the PTA now has 20 members who are committed to helping the school’s 280 children – Head Start through fifth grade – reach high levels of academic achievement. In addition to the PTA, Turning the Page reports that fifth grade teacher Mrs. Lucas and fourth grade teacher Ms. Feldman are both participating in the Turning the Page program, Literacy Through Photography. Garfield also recently welcomed Capital BookShare, a TTP-partner organization that brought hundreds of books for teachers and staff to use in classroom and school libraries.

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