A “One School, One Book” initiative has recently been launched at Kelley School as a unique way to encourage parent involvement in supporting their children as both readers and writers.
And it’s all built around a heartwarming book named “Marley, A Dog Like No Other’’ because of its widespread appeal.
As the innovative program was unveiled at an assembly February 9, eight dogs and their owners were guests including: “Chloe, owned by the Kelley School secretary Susan Bieda; “Bailey,” owned by Jeff Hamelinck, teacher on special assignment at the school; “Buddy” owned by PTA member Stephanie Liechti; “Payton” owned by PTA President Nicole Robbins; “Sky,” owned by Kelley reading teacher Rose Taglialatela; “Wade,” owned by Kelley School reading teacher Mikey Davanzo; “Lindy,” owned by Kelley School math and writing teacher Laura Strong; and “Ruthie” owned by PTA member Katie Childs.
Tracey Risley, a district substitute teacher who formerly taught first and sixth grade in Rome, N.Y. and is a member of the Kelley School PTA suggested the “One School, One Book” project be done here.
Risley, whose two daughters attend Kelley School _ Emma in fifth grade and Marla in third _ and son, Colin, attends Newark Middle School, was part of a program team in Rome that developed the “One School, One Book” concept that was implemented there at Staley Elementary School.
Here in Newark, it’s been expanded to include all kinds of age appropriate activities to keep student readers and their parents engaged in the project that is being done entirely at home like crossword puzzles, word searches, journaling, scrapbooking and more.
Kelley School Principal Chris Mizo is very excited about the unique “One School, One Book” program.
“It’s meant to encourage families to spend quality time together, share special moments and memories while promoting literacy,” she said. “It also unifies the school around one theme as all students are reading the same book.”
Mizro credited Risley for suggesting the idea and helping to make it a great success here.
Risley and other parents and Newark Public Library and Kelley staff met regularly to plan the activities and events.
Risley and Mizro wrote a project description and received $1,500 in district Title 1 grant monies for the project. And with money given by PTA, every student was given a folder with a book inside and other materials needed to complete the project including prizes that began Feb. 11.
“Kelley School is so privileged to have parents, staff and community members that care and support our students,’’ Mizro said. ‘This is one of the most exciting parent involvement projects I have been involved in!”
While the “One School, One Book” project is to be done at home and typically includes about 10 minutes or four to five pages of reading, students progress is daily monitored by their teachers and prizes will be periodically reward based on student achievement.
The culminating activity will be an evening assembly at 6:30 p.m. at the school March 29 at which students and their parents will be introduced to the book’s author John Grogan via a Skype interview.
“He will be talking with kids about becoming writers. It will be a nice program.’’
Kids will be able to put a face to the name of the author,’’ said Risley, who arranged for the interview with Grogan that is being done at no cost