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State Book Delivery Program Kicks Off In White Co.

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
State Book Delivery Program Kicks Off In White Co.

Governor Bill Lee joined White County Director of Schools Kurt Dronebarger Wednesday at Findlay Elementary to announce the launch of a new K-3 Book Delivery program.

Through the Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation (GELF), over 500,000 books will be delivered to students and teachers across the state. Dronebarger said the program gives rural school systems an opportunity to make important early literacy gains.

“Literacy is the key to learning, and it starts early,” Dronebarger said. “We are honored today to have Governor Lee kicking off his Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation program here in White County. Our kids are excited to get books, and our teachers I think are even more excited to get the books.”

About 15 Students and teachers gathered in the school’s library to be the first to receive the book packs. Department of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn helped hand out the bags with a special appearance from Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Schwinn said the program will contribute to the state’s goal of students reading proficiently by the third grade.

“It has been about a strong commitment to kids and to ensure that every child regardless of where they live have access to a strong education and that commitment has been unwavering for years,” Schwinn. “Especially now, it is important that we double down and triple down in that work. We have to look at what literacy has been, the incredible progress we have made, but we have a long way to go.”

The book packs consisted of ten grade appropriate books with guided activities and tips for parents to engage with students as they read. The remaining students and teachers are expected to receive their book packs by the end of the year.

GELF President James Pond and Scholastic Education Senior Vice President of Sales Chris Hedrick also spoke at the giveaway about their organizations’ partnership. Pond said the new book delivery program comes after a successful summer reading pilot where GELF and Scholastic distributed 2,100 book packs to students.

“We believe that we are building a community classroom to build life long learners in our state,” Pond said. “Scholastic is one of those key partners in that community classroom. This pass summer we worked with the department of education and Scholastic to deliver summer book packs, resources and parent book guides.”

Over 50 school districts are participating in the K-3 School Year Book Delivery program. Participants were selected based on size, 2018-2019 third grade reading proficiency rates and the economic prosperity of the county as defined by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

Clay, Jackson, Overton and Van Buren Counties were also selected to participate.



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