By Amara Rockar, Chair, WPCNS Steering Committee
With the Philadelphia School District budget shortfall come painful cuts to neighborhood schools, but community groups like the West Philly Coalition for Neighborhood Schools (WPCNS) have stepped in to soften the blow.
For instance, Lea Elementary at 47th and Locust, WPCNS’s current focus, lost its full-time staff librarian. WPCNS reached out to the West Philadelphia Alliance for Children (WePAC), a non-profit whose “Open Books Open Minds” program provides volunteer librarians and library materials to public elementary schools. As the recent recipient of a $100,000 “Impact 100 Philadelphia” grant, WePAC was looking to expand into moreWest Philadelphiaschools and agreed to bring its program to Lea Elementary in the fall.
WPCNS is assisting with the recruitment of local volunteers who will undergo librarian training and volunteer a minimum of two hours every other week. WePAC volunteers will provide library services to Lea students in Kindergarten through 3rd grade and assist students with checking out and returning books, story time and research help for older students. WePAC is also looking to start an afterschool newspaper club. CPN members interested in volunteering should contact Beth Menasion at email@example.com
— no library experience required!
In addition to the school library project, WPCNS is running a book drive to supplement the classroom libraries in all grades at Lea. Book donations appropriate for kindergarten through 8th grade can be dropped off at the Lea bin at Bindlestiff Books,4530 Baltimore Avenue, or on the porch of4317 Larchwood Avenue. The Lea Kindergarten teachers have also requested donations of bean bag chairs and small bookshelves for classroom “reading nooks.” Those interested in donating classroom furniture can contact Amara Rockar at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lastly, WCPNS looks forward to publicizing and donating to upcoming Lea projects on DonorsChoose.org, a website where teachers can request funding for classroom projects. Over the last year, WPCNS members have donated through DonorsChoose.org to help purchase the “U.S. History Alive” texts for 8th grade Social Studies, copies of The Hunger Games novel for 7th and 8th graders and The Red Kayak mystery novel for 5th and 6th graders at Lea. In addition to lessening the impact of the budget cuts, WPCNS hopes that these programs and projects will help nurture a life-long love of reading for students at Lea.
West Philly Coalition for Neighborhood Schools Website: sites.google.com/site/westphillyschools/
The WPCNS article in the last issue of the CPN Newsletter was written by Amara Rockar. It was incorrectly attributed to Danielle Denk. We extend apologies for this error.