Home » High marks to Ed Board for supporting One School/One Book

High marks to Ed Board for supporting One School/One Book

Well done, Webutuck.

The Webutuck Central School District’s Board of Education (BOE) has decided to fund the One School/One Book reading program this year. It was huge hit last year, when it provided for the transformation of Amenia Elementary School into a rainforest as part of the People as Reading Partners (PARP) month-long event.

At that time the decorated hallways and classrooms looked as if they were torn from the pages of “Snake and Lizard,” by Joy Cowley, the book the project focused on, much to the delight of the children. It drew the students in, it awed them, intrigued them, made them curious, happy to read and then read some more.

The project worked wonders with the children, and thanks to a private $2,000 donation, every student was given a hardcover copy of the book to guide them on their journey through the rainforest. According to school librarian Beth Murphy, 89 percent of the students were actively involved in the reading initiative and participation in PARP went up 10 percent.

Thankfully, the BOE remembered quite clearly how successful the One School/One Book program was, and it was more than willing to lend its support to bring it back again this year. The elementary school’s staff recently asked the BOE for roughly $1,250 to help fund the project. This year, with the closing of Amenia Elementary School, the project is designated for Webutuck Elementary School (WES). That’s just as well as WES, too, should benefit from such a creative venture. All around, the school board’s support was unflinching. BOE President Dale Culver went so far as to suggest the program’s cost be incorporated into the elementary school’s budget annually.

“It’s a small input for a large return,” he said, clearly envisioning a future with annual PARP events such as One School/One Book happening on a regular basis. “It’s not hard to figure out how to find that [money]. It will happen.”

That’s the kind of commitment, made to the type of program, which this paper likes to see.

With the BOE’s approval, the day of the big reveal is set for Feb. 26 — which is when the school will be transformed into a scene mirroring the grasslands of Africa. This year’s “set design” is to be based on the book, “Akimbo and the Lions,” by Alexander Smith. Students, staff and administrators are all in luck, because as they walk through the halls of Webutuck Elementary School they will be whisked away to another land, traveling through the outer limits of their imagination, encouraged to read one book and then another as they learn about Africa and beyond — all thanks to the support of a school board that has shown it, too, has an imagination of its own.

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