Celebrating the installation of a Little Free Library at Avery Elementary School are, from left to right, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower, Assistant Principal Matt Harper, Media Specialist Jennifer Blakey and her husband, Jason Blakey, Cherokee Area Manager for Credit Union of Georgia. Little Free Libraries are being constructed by CCSD high school construction Career Pathway students and installed at CCSD elementary schools and preschool centers districtwide thanks to the sponsorship of Credit Union of Georgia, which also held book collection drives at its branches.
The Cherokee County School District has added Free Little Libraries to more of its elementary school campuses in time for students to begin using them over the winter break.
With the cost sponsored by Credit Union of Georgia, a CCSD Partner, the little library boxes are being built by CCSD high school students in the construction Career Pathway program.
The library boxes are posted outside the school building and hold books, including books donated by Credit Union of Georgia customers and collected through school drives, that are free for CCSD students and their younger siblings to borrow and return on the honor system. They are open to students after school and on weekends, and parents are encouraged to join their children in visiting them and selecting books to borrow.
The libraries now are open at: Avery ES, Ball Ground ES STEM Academy, Boston ES, Holly Springs ES STEM Academy, Indian Knoll ES, Johnston ES, Macedonia ES, Mountain Road ES, Sixes ES, Tippens Education Center and Woodstock ES, with plans to install them at all of CCSD’s other elementary schools and preschool centers. This districtwide project follows the installation of Little Free Libraries at individual schools through school-based initiatives.
CCSD’s Office of Curriculum & Instruction proposed the project as a way to encourage students to continue reading – even when schools are closed on the weekends and during breaks. Early literacy is an important focus for CCSD, with efforts ranging from offering free preschool and Pre-K programs to adopting the Balanced Literacy research based instruction approach for elementary school, which blends sight words, phonics, guided reading, read aloud and assessment strategies to develop and strengthen students’ skills.
“Reading is fundamental to all learning, and this project illustrates how our educators truly think outside of the box, outside of the classroom and outside of the school building to meet the challenge of ensuring every child learns to read and to read at the highest level possible,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “Our high school teachers would not be able to guide their students to pass rigorous Advanced Placement tests or score so well on the SAT and ACT without the strong foundation of early literacy. We’re grateful for Credit Union of Georgia’s support and the construction skills of our high school students that made this project possible.”
Credit Union of Georgia President and CEO Brian Albrecht, a Woodstock High School graduate, said his organization was excited to sponsor the libraries.
“We believe that reading is crucial to student success, and we want to be able to give every child the opportunity they deserve,” Mr. Albrecht said. “Sponsoring ‘Little Free Libraries’ gives the children of Cherokee County the chance to grab a book and read whenever they’d like – keeping the children excited about reading and learning. Being founded as an educators credit union, we are extremely grateful to work with the Cherokee County School District on this new initiative and be a part of the journey.”
Above: Avery ES Media Specialist Jennifer Blakey adds books to the Little Free Library recently installed at the school. Sponsored by Credit Union of Georgia, the library boxes are open to students and their younger siblings after school hours, on weekend and on breaks to borrow and return books on the honor system. Below: The Avery ES Little Free Library is painted with designs from the classic children’s book ‘Where the Wild Things Are.’
Above and below: Etowah High School students, from left, Adam Gallagher, Tyler Hills and Akil Brown-Simon work in teacher Ty Casteel's Career Pathway construction class to add doors to a Little Free Library box for books. The Little Free Libraries being installed at CCSD elementary schools and preschool centers through a districtwide initiative are being constructed by CCSD high school students in construction Career Pathway classes.