REIDSVILLE — For fourth-grade teacher Kristen Perkinson, responsive teaching made her feel like an actor waiting for a mysterious and elusive cue. It was terrifying.

“I felt like I wasn’t teaching the kids,” said Perkinson, who teaches at the Moss Street Partnership School, a new collaboration that brings the resources and research of the University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNCG) to a public elementary school in innovative ways.

MSPS Teacher GivingTuesdayBut what eventually happened was exactly what Perkinson’s colleagues said would happen. Given the time and freedom to select and engage in books that children wanted to read, they connected personally with the books they chose. Through those texts (rather than one assigned to the entire fourth grade), Perkinson was able to teach narrative styles, pronouns and character traits with lessons that stuck. It wasn’t, however, done through a scripted reading instruction program so familiar to most educators. It wasn’t what was familiar to Perkinson, a 15-year veteran teacher. “When you’re taught to do things one way for so long it’s a huge adjustment,” she said. “You question your whole entire teaching, everything you’ve done.”

When Perkinson felt the most unease with her responsive teaching method, she texted Dr. Allison Ormond, MSPS Curriculum Director, and emailed Dr. Gay Ivey, William E. Moran Distinguished Professor in Literacy at UNCG. As leading voices on responsive teaching in the halls of MSPS, Ormond and Ivey helped Perkinson reshape her reading instruction to meet students where they are intellectually and personally.

It’s that kind of new ground that UNCG leadership hoped for when it “adopted” the Moss Street Elementary School in a special collaboration with Rockingham County Schools. Now called the Moss Street Partnership School, the new school benefits from unique connections to UNCG faculty and resources. And it’s a partnership that needs your help.

The key to providing students a choice in selecting modern books with diverse characters is having enough books to go around. That’s why MSPS is participating in #GivingTuesday on November 27 — a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. You can be a part of this worldwide initiative by making a gift to the Moss Street Partnership School Fund that will help buy books for its classroom libraries. You can donate online anytime, though the Tuesday after Thanksgiving will be the day when the world celebrates the beginning of the charitable season. Click here to donate right away, and be sure to check the MSPS Twitter and Facebook pages on #GivingTuesday.

How to make a gift to the Moss Street Partnership School Fund this #GivingTuesday:
1. Visit alumni.uncg.edu/givingtuesday
2. Click “Give the Gift of Education”
3. Select “Choose a different designation”
4. Choose “Moss Street Partnership School” under the Featured section