Last week, JFK Elementary School English Language Learners spent a beautiful fall day at the Clemmons Family Farm in Charlotte, VT, listening to stories, making bean pies, and learning about African American art and culture. This special field trip was a memorable experience for these kids, who come from all over the world and are part of the Winooski elementary school’s Newcomers program.
Students who attended the field trip said,
JFK Elementary School in Winooski, VT is one of the five VT schools (along with 5 New Hampshire schools) chosen for CLiF’s Year of the Book program this school year.
In their application, the school staff wrote, “JFK Elementary is the most diverse school in the state. We have over 28 languages spoken within the district, and a very high poverty rate. We are the only minority majority school in the state, meaning our non-Caucasian students outnumber our Caucasian students. Our demographics in and of themselves make us a unique place.” Winooski is a federal Refugee Resettlement Site, so students from all over the world attend JFK Elementary School. 40% of JFK students are English Language Learners. Many of these students have few or no books at home, so they’ll be able to accrue their own home libraries this year, thanks to the grant.
The CLiF Year of the Book provides selected elementary schools in VT and NH with $25,000 in literacy programming, including:
- Inspiring author visits and workshops with CLiF’s talented presenters
- Family Literacy events, such as free community dinners with storytelling and a discussion on sharing books together
- Fun new classroom projects
- Mini-grants that fund programming, such as field trips and other fun programs, that connects literacy to the real world
- New books for the school library
- New books for the local public library
- New books for classrooms
- TEN new books for each child to choose
So far already this school year, JFK students have heard stories from storyteller Duncan McDougall, picked out their first new book, and learned about other cultures.
JFK Librarian Matt Giles says, “The Year of the Book program has our students and faculty excited about books! Duncan’s Kickoff event was the perfect way to start the year. He had a room of 140 4th & 5th graders so engaged in the story he was reading that you could hear his footsteps as he silently acted out a character walking a tightrope. Because of the Mini-Grants our ELL [Engligh Language Learner] Newcomer classes got to visit the Clemmons’ Family Farm (see photos above) and make bean pies while learning about African-American culinary traditions. I am excited about the amazing authors, illustrators, and poets that our students will have the opportunity to meet this year, and I cannot wait to see how our community is transformed when every child has their own library at home!”
CLiF presenter author/illustrator Jason Chin also visited JFK Elementary through our Summer Readers program this past summer. Check out the video here.