EDUCATION: Local teacher uses board game based on Monopoly to help save literacy program
One-of-a-kind limited edition Hendersonopoly is now selling at a clearance price of only $5.00 per game while supplies last at the Ulis Newton Elementary office (see contact info below). For more information please call (702)810–2635 or email [email protected]
— When Newton Elementary teacher Melinda Dean learned that recent budget cuts would stymie her school’s remedial literacy program, she initiated a creative solution to sustain the curriculum: a Hendersonopoly fundraiser.
Styled after Monopoly, Parker Brothers’ timeless board game, Hendersonopoly is played on a board featuring local businesses and organizations. A legal agreement between Parker Brothers and the manufacturer, Pride Distributers, Inc., allowed Newton to borrow the “-opoly” title for the project.
The games, which have sold for $25 each over the past year — the amount needed to fund the Fast ForWord reading program for one hour – are now offered at a discounted price of $20. Dean and her colleagues hope to sell enough games to keep running the literacy program, which the Clark County School District previously funded district-wide with a special grant.
The limited edition game has value as a collector’s item since only 1000 copies were printed.
With historical photographs of Henderson featured on the box and center of the game board, Dean hopes the game will appeal to nostalgic Henderson residents, as well as collectors of novelty Monopoly games.
Dean, who has taught at Ulis Newton Elementary, 571 Greenway Road, since it opened 20 years ago, remembered a similar fundraiser in 1996 that raised over $60,000. “I suggested we try it again,” she said, “The staff agreed that recreating the game to celebrate our 20 years in the community and raise money for the Fast ForWord reading tutorial was a great idea.
“I spent the entire summer and beginning of the fall visiting with business owners, managers and company marketing directors. Everyone I spoke to thought it was a great idea.”
Dean visited over 800 businesses last summer soliciting sponsorship and reported that Henderson’s business community has been so supportive that the project was profitable even before the first game was sold. From car dealerships to bakeries, over 90 businesses and individuals sponsored the game and are featured on its board, cards, and money.
“I would like to recognize all the businesses that purchased a space or something to make the game possible,” Dean stated. “I can’t thank them enough. The generosity of the community has been greatly appreciated.” Dean also expressed appreciation for the proactive efforts of Newton’s PTA and the Hendersonopoly Committee, which is made up of fellow staff members.
“The game has meant a great deal to me for several reasons,” she continued, “The whole idea in teaching is to help the students. Helping them achieve and conquer their weaknesses is our goal. We want to see them reach their potential as well as master the curriculum concepts at their grade level.”
According to Newton Principal Gwen Gibson, Fast ForWord is a rapid-results literacy program that has produced remarkable results for their struggling readers. She explained that it works well for both native and non-native English speakers, as well as for non-English speaking students who are struggling to acquire language and reading skills at the same time. As she oversees a dynamic blend of these students, she considers Fast ForWord to be a critical component of their curriculum. She estimates it will cost $16,000 annually to run the program independently.
Newton students are enthusiastic about the project even though they have not been involved in the game’s actual production. Dean said students have been thrilled about the game and they can’t seem to brag enough about it. She also indicated that it will be used to supplement forthcoming economics units for the older students.
Hendersonopoly can be purchased at the school’s front office. In addition to game sales, Newton welcomes donations to benefit the reading program. For additional purchase or donation arrangements, please email [email protected].| iH
Article originally published on insideHENDERSON March 14, 2014.