Duval Charter School at Arlington students in Jacksonville may not know exactly where Temple Terrace is right now, but they soon will thanks to the Giving Tree program.
Students at Temple Terrace’s are currently hosting a book drive to benefit their counterparts in Jacksonville. Both campuses are part Charter Schools USA, a charter school management company that operates in three states including Florida.
The Giving Tree program is meant to put books in the hands of Charter Schools USA students who are less fortunate, said spokeswoman Colleen Reynolds.
“We realize that together we can make a significant difference in the lives of other charter school students,” Reynolds said. “Because Charter Schools USA educates more than 25,000 students, each school joined with its sister schools can make a powerful impact.”
Woodmont serves youngsters in kindergarten through the sixth grade right now. It plans to add a seventh-grade class next year and has only been open for one school year, according to Daniel Verdier, curriculum specialist for Charter Schools USA.
The drive continues at the school until mid-May. So far it “has been extremely successful. We currently have over 1,000 titles and the list is counting to grow,” Verdier said.
To bolster those numbers, Verdier said community support for the book drive is welcomed.
“We would be happy to receive titles that are appropriate for students in grades kindergarten through seventh grade,” he said.
Charter Schools USA serves a number of students who are underprivileged, Verdier said, which is why the drive is so important.
“As a Title 1 school, we feel that giving students access to as many books as possible is an extremely important piece towards their educational success,” he said. “These donations allow our teachers to pull from a large library of information and assigning books that are content related.”
“Giving ready access to books will improve the reading achievement of low-income children,” said Sylvia Hall, principal of Duval Charter School at Arlington in a press release about the drive. “The U.S. Department of Education states that 55 percent of children who receive a new age-appropriate book of their own had an increased interest in reading and the percent of young adults with a high interest in reading jumped from 23 percent to 61 percent.”
Duval serves 78 percent of its students free or reduced lunch and will receive the books to distribute to its students by June 8 so that students will have the new books for the summer.
To donate new or gently used books, just drop them off by May 18 at Woodmont Charter School, 10402 N 56th St.