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Building a better community: one book at a time
A class project at Campus Middle School turned into a library expansion project at Eastridge Community Elementary School, where students now have 434 additional books to read.

The new and gently-used books were collected during September by eighth-graders Katherine Crise, Abby Fisher and Carlie Greeley, as part of an assignment for an elective class called “Building a Better Community: One Step at a Time.”

“The goal of the class is to provide an opportunity for the students to help improve our community, as well as help people in the state of Colorado and around the world,” said Amy Bainbridge, the CMS Gifted and Talented Coordinator who teaches the class. “In addition, I want the students to develop an understanding of real-world issues.”

For this assignment, students had to research an issue and develop a project to address it. All avid readers, the girls decided to focus on the issue of literacy.

“Growing up we went to two amazing elementary schools (Belleview and Cottonwood Creek) where we had a plethora of books and developed a love of reading,” said Fisher. “We wanted to share that passion with other kids.”

They investigated academic achievement and budgets in the Cherry Creek School District. They also found studies that showed a correlation between the number of books children have access to and their success later in life. That led them to collect books from their friends, teachers, relatives and neighbors.

“We realized how fortunate we are to have the opportunities we do and wanted to donate to a school where the opportunities might not be as big as ours,” said Greeley.

They selected Eastridge, a school of nearly 800 students where more than 65% of the children are eligible for free and reduced lunch. The school also has a strong literacy focus.

“We’ve narrowed our focus to reading because that really unlocks the opportunities of the future for our students,” said Scott May, assistant principal at Eastridge. “It’s a great honor to have been chosen for these books.”

“We wanted to share with others in the community,” said Crise, as the girls unloaded boxes and baskets of books, sorted by grade level, and carried them in to the Eastridge Library.

The girls and their classmates will present reports on their projects later this fall. Their teacher is sure they will have accomplished one of her main objectives for the course: “I want the students to realize the power in paying it forward.”

Posted October 4, 2013.
Posted 10/4/2013 2:45 PM
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