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JCS Summer Campers get a visit from the new Mobile Literacy Learning Lab!
District Leadership Team

Moving JCS Forward!

How do you motivate and excite students about learning?  One way is to transform an old bus into a mobile learning lab!  Jefferson County Schools Literacy Learning Lab is on the move this June visiting elementary-aged students at summer learning camps.  Students are getting the opportunity to interact with some of the activities and to choose a book to take homeThe purpose of the bus is to motivate and excite students through hands-on activities and book giveaways.   

We know that literacy is important to our students’ futures and the future of our community.  We want students to have positive experiences with learning and with books.  Access to books should not be a barrier to children’s academic progress in reading.  One educational researcher says that summer reading loss can account for losing up to two years of growth by the end of elementary school.  We don’t want this to happen to children in Jefferson County.   

Depending on the type of event, the mobile lab could be utilized in different ways.  If a school is hosting a reading night, the mobile lab could be set up outside the school with activities for families to experience together.  If it’s a community event, there may be a short, structured program before time to engage in hands-on activities.  If a teacher team wants to utilize resources on the bus for instruction, the bus could be scheduled for a period of time during the school day.  If school is out for summer, the mobile lab may visit the local Boys & Girls Club, summer learning camp, or target a specific spot for outreach to children.   

To get started, four topics have been identified for the mobile lab.  These topics are engineering challenges, life science, engineering –building structures, and earth science- rocks, minerals, and fossils.  Some books and activities have been collected for the mobile lab for these topics.  Some schools had resources left over from STEM programs that are no longer active and have been willing to share leftover resources.  Each summer learning camp is currently running a state-funded STREAM program this June and some of those resources will be used for the bus as well.  Additionally, a $4,000 grant has been awarded from the Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation (GELF) for the launch of the project.  GELF runs a competitive refuel grant that districts can apply to receive every other year to help sustain continuing costs.   

There is more to come with the JCS Literacy Learning Lab!  The shelving for one side of the interior is not yet installed, and there are plans to add an awning as well.  Other school districts have recommended the awning so that tables can be set up outside of the bus.  Many events will likely be indoor/outdoor.   

Several JCS educators have shared that they have a fond memory of a book bus experience from their own childhoodMt. Horeb Instructional Coach Laura McClellan remembers the book bus as a highlight of her summer growing upPaige James, Instructional Coach at Rush Strong School, said that her school received a book bus visit every week.  As a little girl she told her teachers that she wanted to be a book bus driver when she grew up because she enjoyed the experience so much!  

This investment in our children should be a positive experience for the Jefferson County community!   

Piedmont Elementary Principal Julie Allen said, “I am excited about the mobile learning lab for all Jefferson County students.  The learning lab will bring an enhanced level of excitement for students and will reach students in different capacities other than just in the school building.  I look forward to seeing the enthusiasm the lab brings to our students.”   

 

 

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