‘Trojans Read the Way’ Bookmobile a Success
A grassroots effort by Jenks Public Schools educators to provide access to books and literacy support during the summer and their vision to expand the program into a dedicated bookmobile led the Jenks Public Schools Foundation to support the Trojans Read the Way literacy initiative. The initiative raised the funds needed to transform a retired Jenks school bus into a fully functional bookmobile.
In 2019, a group of educators determined a population of Jenks Public Schools students may not have access to books during the summer months. To provide these students with equitable access to books, multiple teachers volunteered their time and resources to load donated books into a van, travel to nearby apartment complexes, and offer books to families.
The makeshift bookmobile was well received, and families lined up each week to take home a selection of books.
These teachers presented the positive outcomes of their summer literacy effort to the Jenks Board of Education, along with their vision of expanding the program.
Jenks Public Schools Foundation leaders heard their request and approved a Trojans Read the Way funding initiative.
In February 2020, the foundation issued a call to action at its annual dinner and auction, raising funds to repurpose a retired Jenks school bus into the Trojans Read the Way Bookmobile.
Jenks carpenters removed the interior seating and worked with the Trojans Read the Way team to create a colorful interior equipped with bookshelves, seating, and a generator to provide air conditioning during the hot summer months.
Once the interior of the bookmobile was completed, a Jenks business produced a wrap with a fun design to cover the bus. The Jenks Public Schools Foundation logo is proudly included in the design.
Funds raised for the initiative also provided a permanent canopy for the bookmobile. A call for donated books was made throughout the district with Trojans Read the Way donation receptacles placed at all school sites.
Several Foundation board members also offered to place receptacles at their businesses. Thousands of books have been collected.
“Jenks Public Schools Foundation leaders and the Trojans Read the Way team all agree that the Trojans Read the Way literacy program was extremely successful,” said foundation executive director Elizabeth Inbody. “It has grown from a grassroots effort of delivering books out of a van to an air conditioned, colorful, inviting bookmobile where students can experience the joy of selecting a book that will become part of their own home library. The number of students served increased dramatically, and three times as many books were given away with the addition of the bookmobile.”
During the summer of 2021, more than 2,300 books were distributed to students and families. An average of 150 students were served each week, greatly expanding equitable access to learning for Jenks students during the summer months.
The Trojans Read the Way team has plans to increase the impact of the program going forward by adding additional routes and taking the Bookmobile out to serve families during holiday breaks.