The Osborn School District (OSD) encompassed six schools -- five elementary schools (Clarendon, Encanto, Longview, Montecito and Solano) and a middle school -- in the inner city of Phoenix. Close to 90% of the students served live under the poverty line, putting them at risk of school failure.
The proposed program, which is being revamped due to the loss of a matching donor, involves the reading of books (frequently by Rotarians) to 3rd grade students, followed by the students getting to select and keep a book of their choice. Most often it is the first book they ever get to own. As envisioned, these before-school events will occur four times during the 2018-19 school year, and include a light breakfast furnished by the District.
Approximately 300 students will benefit from participation in the program.
The program is based on the fact that reading to students, many or most of whom have low reading skills, is a proven way to instill in them a desire to read and thereby improve their reading skills. Quite simply, the program helps open students' eyes to what they are missing through the magical world of books. According to results of the state standardized testing program, only 44 percent of Arizona's third-graders are reading proficient. Books distributed through this program will help improve the odds for these students.
All books will be purchased by the Osborn School District at discounted rates available to them. All funds will be used for the purchase of books. There will be no 'administrative' costs.
Subject to approval of this request, a pledge of an additional $4,000 in matching funds has been secured from the Osborn School District Foundation, a 501(c)(3), whose Board includes five members of Phoenix West Rotary Club.