Every once in a while, I read a story about an educator who goes above and beyond the call of duty to truly make an impact on students' lives. One elementary principal in Beaumont, Texas, is definitely one of these special people. Because after already putting in a full day's work at school, this principal reads bedtime stories to students via Facebook. And it's brilliant.
Every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., Homer Drive Elementary School Principal Belinda George uses her phone to live-stream herself reading a story, The Beaumont Enterprise reported. These sessions — which she calls “Tucked-in Tuesdays" — are streamed on the school's Facebook page, so anyone can watch. Often in her pajamas, or in front of her fireplace, George reads books that allow students to earn accelerated reading points if they choose to take a corresponding quiz. These videos often attract thousands of views each week — and sometimes even include viewers from across the nation.
"I don't call my children 'students,' I call them 'scholars,'" George, who is only in her first year as principal, told The Beaumont Enterprise. "I want to extend what I do past 4 p.m. I'm not in every child's home, so I don't know if all or any of them have someone to read to them at night. This is just a way to give the children that exposure."
George actually borrowed the idea for story streaming from a forum for teachers. She figured she'd give it a try — considering 94 percent of her students come from economically disadvantaged homes and an average of only 55 percent of students in third through fifth grades were reading at or above grade level, according to The Longview News-Journal.
After receiving positive feedback for the first reading, George decided to make it a weekly ritual. “Kids will come up to me Wednesday and say, ‘Dr. George, I saw you in your PJs reading!,” she said. “They’ll tell me their favorite part of the book.” Even better? Since she became principal this school year, George has already witnessed improvement in students' literacy.
If you take a look at the videos on Homer Drive Elementary School's Facebook page, you can see George in action. And it's easy to see why kids love her so much. While reading the book Ladybug Girl, she wore ladybug wings and held a stuffed ladybug. She also wore a Cookie Monster bodysuit while reading Madeline's Christmas. And you can bet there was a giant inflatable astronaut standing behind her as she read Astronaut Handbook. Between George's fun props, giving shout-outs to students as they tune in for readings, and inserting fun commentary here and there, the weekly stories have become a family affair for students.
In case you weren't convinced George is the most fun principal ever, get this: On top of reading to her students weekly, she holds dance parties at school twice per week, according to The Longview News-Journal. George also does home visits to encourage students who might be struggling in school. She told the publication:
Anything I can do to build relationships. If a child feels loved they will try. There’s no science about it.
I don't know about you, but my heart pretty much just burst with love for this woman. It might only be Dr. George's first year as a principal, but I think we can all agree: She's totally rocking it.