When Troy School District doors opened this fall, Middle School English teachers, English Language Development teachers, and Special Education Language Arts teachers were greeted with a special gift from the Troy Foundation for Educational Excellence (TFEE): classroom libraries customized for their students. The purchase of these books was made possible through the partnership between the Troy School District and the TFEE, resulting in a $60,000 grant from the TFEE. This TFEE grant provided all teachers with a variety of interesting books that are at the right level for the students in their classes.
“We are so proud of not only the donation of these resources for TSD students and teachers, but also of the process through which the books were chosen.” Says TFEE Executive Director Alison Hendry. Teachers were able to suggest books that they would like to have as part of the libraries. Those suggestions were added to lists compiled by TSD leadership, Oakland Schools, and Columbia University’s Teachers College. From there, the books were organized into 24 collections. Teachers then chose the collections that would be of most use to them and their students, selecting one collection for every hour of English or Language Arts that they teach.
“We had a great deal of help from teachers and media specialists in assembling these shelves. With this grant, we were able to outfit over 40 classrooms with current titles to increase student engagement and choice. The excitement was palpable as this was truly a labor of love.” said TSD Curriculum and Instructional Specialist, Jo O’Brien.
Boulan Park Middle School teacher Justine Galbraith said, "It was thrilling to get dozens of books to add to my classroom library. I've been growing my library for four years, and we largely fund them ourselves. It gets expensive, and there's always more I want to buy. Expanding it so much was so exciting, and it was great to highlight some of the titles with my students when the books arrived."
Baker Middle School teacher Scott Germansky added, "I can't say enough about the relevancy and necessity of this project. Teachers have recognized for years that our classroom libraries needed a revamp. Having windows and mirrors (books that all students can see themselves in and learn about others) is paramount to becoming a well-rounded student and person. When the books arrived, and we held "book tastings" - the atmosphere was indescribable. You could see on the students' faces that they recognized this was more than just an addition to the class library. I think of all the grant projects the TFEE has fulfilled for Troy students over the years, this has the possibility of being the most impactful and enduring."
Since 1989, the Troy Foundation for Educational Excellence has raised funds to support and enhance education in the Troy School District. For more information about the TFEE, visit their website at www.TroyFoundation.org