Katherine Enriquez marched proudly down the Carroll Peak Elementary hall, four schoolmates in tow. Each carried a plastic red bin full of books, momentarily borrowed from their classrooms to tell a story.
More than 130,000 stories, actually.
After two years of planning and executing, fund raising and volunteering, distributing and setting up, Read Fort Worth’s Classroom Library Campaign celebrated its “conclusion” with a special ceremony in the Carroll Peak Elementary library on Wednesday, Oct. 2. The afternoon gathering involved many of those instrumental in the campaign’s success.
“The Classroom Library Campaign aligns perfectly with the District’s mission to prepare all of our students for success in college, career and community leadership,” Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Dr. Kent P. Scribner said. “Early literacy is one of the District’s fundamental goals.”
Dr. Scribner and others shared their thoughts on what it means to outfit every prekindergarten through second grade teacher in Fort Worth ISD with 50-100 books for individual classroom libraries. In total, more than 130,000 books were purchased from Scholastic to blanket the District‘s 84 elementary schools.
“While we may be celebrating the completion of the Classroom Library Campaign today, really this is just beginning,” Read Fort Worth Executive Director Elizabeth Brands said. “The books in these classroom library sets can now make a difference with teachers, reading volunteers and, most important, our Fort Worth ISD students. This is another example of our committed stakeholders coming together to support students and teachers with the literacy resources they need to succeed.”
The campaign was a comprehensive initiative developed with FWISD leaders ensuring young students and teachers have effortless and equitable access to high-interest, culturally-relevant books throughout the school day. The initial target centered on a fraction of the schools in the District in need of additional resources for the younger classrooms.
As the campaign grew and gained momentum with donors and volunteers, the entire District benefitted. Eventually, more than $320,000 was raised. Read Fort Worth coordinated the volunteer effort that collectively unpacked, labeled and organized the books. Every Pre-K class received 50 books, with kinder through through second grade classes receiving 100 books each.
The Fort Worth Public Library is also collecting the titles, giving children access to their classroom library sets throughout the year.
“These books can make a difference year-round for all kids in Fort Worth,” Mayor Betsy Price said. “Learning and reading doesn’t stop when the bell rings at the end of the day.”
TXU Energy took a lead role in supporting the campaign from its inception. Several TXU Energy representatives attended the celebration at Carroll Peak.
“As a company based in D-FW, TXU Energy is invested in the people of North Texas,” said Kimberly Hilley, TXU Energy community relations manager. “When we heard Mayor Price speak passionately about Read Fort Worth at an event a few years back, we knew we had to support it. Our team at TXU Energy understands that a love of reading sets students up for a lifetime of success.”