Escape, Explore, Expand...

Mrs. Labenski
Jefferson Middle School
Grades 6-8
Caldwell, ID
Project Cost: $1325.71
Dollars to go: $250.71

My Students

My classroom population is diverse and largely minority driven. Culturally relevant content and pedagogy are very important to us. We are a Title I school with large concentrations of low-income students who often need assistance in meeting their educational goals. My scholars are very bright. They are more resilient than you can imagine, and they are dreamers. They also, at times, feel defeated. At their young age, they already know how harsh and unforgiving the world can be. I can see the fight in their eyes and the strength in their hearts and know that with support, they can overcome their struggles and defeat the obstacles standing in their way.

My Project

Reflecting on last year (it was my first year teaching!), there are so many things my classroom needs. None so badly, however, as a library for my 8th grade ELA students. My 80+ scholars are largely low-income, and many do not have books at home and rely solely on access to books through our school and public libraries. When I began teaching ELA last year, I inherited a broken book shelf with dusty, outdated paperbacks from authors unknown. It's no surprise that they gave a big sigh when we had quiet reading time, and I said to go on over to the "library" and pick a book. I hope to build a new library with 100 best books. I want to create a cozy nook with clean shelves and bright imagery. I want to build them a classroom library with inspiring books, in a bright, thoughtful space that is just for THEM. Literacy is about communication. Children who have the ability to communicate effectively see the world with curiosity and awe. My students want to imagine a world full of possibility and future successes. Unfortunately, the truth is that many of my kids are not reading at grade level. They struggle with curriculum and often feel like giving up. But sometimes, something as simple as ONE book, can change the direction of one's thinking. Diving into a a book, a world of fantasy and lure, adventure and achievement, and, of course love, great love builds our ability to discover our inner selves, relate to one another and connect with the world around us. Books take us places we never imagined we could go. Let's dream that dream for these kids who so deserve it.