Washington Elementary accepts literacy grant from Wal-Mart

Washington Elementary School recently received a $500 literacy grant from Winslow Wal-Mart’s Store Manager Sarah Patton and Community Coordinator Dar Black. Principal Sarah Smithson and Library Technician Lisa MacLean accepted the grant check in the school’s library.

Ms. Smithson was delighted in accepting the literacy check on behalf of her school. She said, “Reading is very fundamental for a child. If a child doesn’t know how to read, he or she will not do well in school or enjoy being in school.”

She also said all of the credit should be given to Mrs. MacLean, who applied for the literacy grant.

Ms. Smithson said she and the school could not have improved the library on their own especially with the state’s deficiencies in the education budget. She said they have received donations from the Winslow’s Womens Club, Wal-Mart and by an anonymous donator who donates three times a year and gives the children a free book for them to keep. Ms. Smithson said she really appreciates all of the donations made to her school.

The school also does their own donating of books that can no longer be used. The school donates the books to the Northern Arizona Academy for their educational uses.

Ms. Smithson said she, along with Mrs. MacLean, have worked really hard in making their schools library kid friendly and very enjoyable for the students. Some of the improvements in the library have been a reading pit where students can go and sit inside to read or be read too, low book cases so the children can see and have access to any book of their choice, a full set of new Encyclopedia Britannica, and two computer work stations where the kids can enjoy some fun time.

The library also has many animal friends a child might choose to read with. These animal friends are large stuffed animals, and all of them have names, including Camille the monkey, Lizzie the alligator, Lilly the elephant and Booklet the inchworm.

The library also has an accelerated reading store where prizes like small balls, school supplies, beanie babies and lunch with a student’s favorite teacher can be bought with points from books read by the students.

The money to purchase things for the store comes from the students buying suckers for fifty-cents from the school, who makes a profit of twenty-five cents.

The top two readers at Washington are Jane Manthi, who currently has 694.7 reading points and Michael Behman who has 380 points. Ms. MacLean said the school will give prizes and awards to the top readers toward the end of the year during a school assembly.

At the beginning of the year Ms. Smithson set a reading goal for the school to total 14,500 points of read books and high marks on school work. If the school met the goal she promised to kiss a real live pig. The students are over 80 percent of the way to reaching their goal.

In the hallway next to the library is a bulletin board of a picture of big pig, which is colored in as the students gain more reading points, and a profile drawn by student Nico Aguirre depicting Smithson kissing the animal.

Ms. Smithson said the drawing was a perfect image of her. She said he even captured her nose just the way it really is. She added she ready to kiss the pig in front of the school, but she won’t be the only one puckering up if they reach their goal.

WUSD Superintendent Dr. David Black, School Board President Mr. Joe Hancock and Board Member Dodie Montoya will be joining her in kissing the pig.

The only problem for the students is the school can’t find a real, live pig for the principal to kiss. So, if you have a pig or know where the school might borrow one, please help the students out by calling the school at 298- 2452.

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