Highlights and Upcoming Events


  • 2015 River Read Children’s Literature Festival--542 fourth and fifth grade students, 23 teachers, and 16 authors participated in the River Read.  18 Park University teacher candidates volunteered to help with the event.  Seven Title I elementary schools from the North Kansas City School District participated.​
  • Social Media—The Dorothy Harper Watson Literacy Center is active on both Facebook and Pinterest. 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PirateLiteracy

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/watsonliteracyc/

  • Urban Kansas City Literacy Festival—Dr. Shannon Cuff is a member of the planning committee for the first annual Literacy Festival in South Kansas City to be held May 14, 2016.  The Literacy Festival is part of a three-day basketball tournament hosted by the Nets Developmental League.  Children who attend school in the Grandview, Raytown, Center, and Hickman-Mills districts will also receive information about the festival to encourage community support.  10,000-15,000 people are expected to attend the Literacy Festival, and Park University will be the only four-year institution inside the event gates because of the literacy connection represented by the Watson Literacy Center.
  • Book Drive—Teacher candidates in the School for Education student organization and the Watson Literacy Center will hold a campus-wide book drive to support the Urban Kansas City Literacy Festival.  Organizers of the festival wish for every child who attends to leave with one or two free books.  Our goal is to collect 1,000 books to contribute. 
  • Pathfinder Elementary/Park University Partnership—Planning meetings have begun between Dr. Shannon Cuff and the principal of Pathfinder Elementary in the Platte County School District, Dr. Devin Doll, to begin a teacher study group at the school to discuss and plan curriculum and events related to intercultural and global literature.


Upcoming Events:

  • Planning for the 2016 River Read Children’s Literature Festival is already underway.  Three grants are being pursued to provide additional funding for the event, and the seven North Kansas City School District Title I schools who participated last year have been invited to attend again this year.
  • Kids 2 College—Kids 2 College is a college readiness initiative funded by the Sallie Mae Foundation.  Dr. Shannon Cuff is working with the Dean of the School for Education and the Provost to bring the program to the middle schools of greatest need in the North Kansas City School District.
  • Northgate Middle School/Park University Partnership—In December of 2015, Dr. Shannon Cuff and School for Education colleague Professor Gail Hennessy received an Internationalization Faculty Grant to support English Language Learners at Northgate Middle School in the North Kansas City School District.  Shannon and Gail will begin work this Spring with the ELL Coordinator in the district to model research-based best practice strategies to Park University teacher candidates who will then use this knowledge to tutor struggling ELL readers at Northgate Middle School.  The Watson Literacy Center plans to continue this partnership in the Fall. 
  • Space Renovation—With support from the Provost and institution, the Watson Literacy Center classroom and resource area will be renovated to reflect the design aesthetic present in the newly renovated Mabee 200 corridor.