October 11, 2021

Jenks Public Schools to Be Recognized for Outstanding Achievement



CONTACT: Brenda Wheelock
(405) 236-0006

October 11, 2021

A fully equipped bookmobile, a book dispensing vending machine and a program connecting school site needs with community resources have been selected as recipients of the 2021 Outstanding Program Awards for Oklahoma School Foundations presented by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence and its Oklahoma School Foundations Network.

The awards recognize innovative programs sponsored or administered by public school foundations in Oklahoma. Receiving plaques and monetary awards of $1,000 each will be the Trojans Read the Way Bookmobile sponsored by the Jenks Public Schools Foundation; the Get Books, Not Twix! Book Vending Machine sponsored by the Grove Education Foundation for Excellence; and the Community and Schools Together Initiative sponsored by the Putnam City Schools Foundation.

“We are honoring these programs for their creativity and the positive impact they have in supporting academic excellence in their communities,” said Katy Leffel, director of the Oklahoma School Foundations Network. “In addition, program award winners will present a free webinar on Oct. 27 to share their ideas so other school foundations might emulate or adapt these programs in their own school districts.”

Trojans Read the Way Bookmobile
Jenks Public Schools Foundation

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 summer 2019, a group of dedicated 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 book- mobile 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, over 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.

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