BY JANINE ADAMS
For the Record Gazette
Kindergarteners and fifth-graders from Cabazon Elementary School are not rooted in Banning or Beaumont anymore — they can now travel the world.
Cabazon School’s library is a recipient of a $2,500 grant from the San Gorgonio Education Foundation’s Grants for School program.
Beneficiaries can receive an amount that can range from $100 to $2,500.
The objective of the grant is to service students by supporting them to excel with their education and to encourage innovation in education.
Librarian Angela Smith launched her career with the school as an assistant substitute teacher in 2009.
Today, Smith serves as the assistant media library media clerk for the school.
Once she stepped in she made it a goal to acquire new library books for the students at Cabazon Elementary.
Mission accomplished. Her commitment became a reality: armed with her grant, she acquired 350 new books to add to the library’s collection.
The process kick-started with a districtwide email that was sent out by Monica O’ Brian superintendent secretary to all schools, encouraging everyone to apply for the San Gorgonio Education Foundation’s grant.
Smith was driven: she applied tenacity and persistency to achieve the award for the students because she knew that new books would make an impact, saying, “Students don’t get to see the world. They don’t get out of the cities.”
According to Smith, the grant made an impact on the students, noting that her schoolchildren can journey and travel the world because Cabazon Elementary School bought 350 brand new books for the library.
She said that it was important for the school to obtain books that correspond with the new district’s adopted common core curriculum.
Encourage reading throughout the school through the use of new and interesting material and broadened the kinds of materials students could check out and take home.
According to their grant application, the additional books should help with students’ test scores and reading levels.
“With new books, we should be able to anticipate reading and test score growth. A qualitative measure we can use is the amount of visits made by students to library. By obtaining new books and encouraging reading, we plan on seeing more students visiting our school library,” the grant application states.
The school has a history of constantly trying to find encouraging programs to inspire their students to read more.
For instance, during the spring season students are given an opportunity to celebrate Dr. Seuss’s “Cat in the Hat,” series, which includes a birthday party for kindergartners, and all students are encouraged to dress up like a character from Seuss’s books on that particular day.
Then, there is Lefty’s Challenge reading program, in which students have to read 20 books in a month.
If, they complete the task, they earn a membership with Auto Club Speedway and have the potential to receive tickets to car races at Fontana/Raceway.
Colors brighten up the world, so the school drafted a color coding for accelerated reader program.
Books are color-coded for each student’s reading level.
Upon completion of reading a book, a student takes a test to earn points that they can use for shopping at the Dino store (similar to a mini Disneyland store, inspired by the school’s dinosaur mascot).
Prizes have been donated by Walmart through manger Nathan Stines, an advocate for the children.
And Cabazon School hosts the Scholastic book fair, which can be a fun occasion when students and staff attend the event dressed up in costumes
As a result of the additional books, there has been more noticeable foot traffic in the library, Smith said.
One student read 43 of the new books, and discovered that book 33 was missing.
Smith worked right away to get that book.
Another highlight, a male student encountered Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House on the Prairie.”
He had not been familiar with the Wilder’s books, and was enlightened by discovering the series.
“We are so thankful for being awarded the grant money and being able to purchase so many new books. Thank you David Heiss, and to all the members of the San Gorgonio Education Foundation,” Smith said.
The nonprofit San Gorgonio Education Foundation partners with the Banning Unified School District to provide support for school programs, activities and projects that benefit students and district faculty.