Last week, third grade students at Ralph J. Bunche Elementary School, part of Jefferson Parish Schools in Metairie, Louisiana, were gifted a classroom makeover thanks to a collaboration between the National Alliance of Black School Educators Foundation (NABSEF) and Scholastic!
The district was chosen in honor of Dr. James Gray, superintendent of Jefferson Parish Schools, who was named the 2024 Louisiana Superintendent of the Year, as well as Dr. Monya Thomas-Criddle, who was named as the 2024 Louisiana Elementary Principal of the Year. Dr. Emma L. Marshall Epps, a representative from NABSEF, also chose to spotlight the district in honor of the 51st annual NABSE conference.
Scholastic donated high-interest, culturally relevant books to 468 students, with each title giving context to today’s world while still celebrating the stories of the historically underrepresented. As part of the makeover, there were 760 titles donated. Each teacher in the school was provided a new classroom collection and a professional development title that spans across various content areas. These collections included: the Rising Voices Collection, 7 Strengths Libraries Collection, STEAM Teaching Collection, the Culturally Responsive Collections, and more.
According to research from the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report™ half of children who are Black (53%) or Hispanic (49%) say they have a difficult time finding books with characters who are like them, and over half of Black (5%) and Hispanic (59%) children age nine or older wish there were more books with diversity available – making collaborations that expand access to books crucial in helping young learners identify as readers.
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