This year marked the sixth annual Mayor’s Book Club in Bergen County. Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Peter Sammartino School of Education partnered with the New Jersey State League of Municipalities to develop the program this year. The initiative works to bring mayors into their school districts first grade classrooms, as well as to encourage these young students to learn the importance of reading and literacy.
Through this initiative, municipal leaders get to engage with their local schools, as well as connect community members to the schools and their municipal leaders. Besides making these connections outside of the school, the purpose of the Mayor’s Book Club program is to help motivate and engage first graders to read. The challenge for schools in the program is for their first grade classes to read 1,000 books by the end of the school year.
Above: The Kick-off event at Roosevelt School on February 3, 2015 including Vicki Cohen, director of FDU's School of Education (far right) and Mayor George Fosdick (seated). (Photo courtesy of Roosevelt School).
"This initiative is an exciting project for the municipal leaders, the school districts, the School of Education's literacy faculty, and teacher candidates at FDU," said Vicki Cohen, director of FDU's School of Education. "This program is a model for how municipal government, school districts, and schools of education can collaborate to provide and enhance literacy and achievement. Dana Ryan [assistant professor of education] and I will be working with the 1st grade teachers in each of the schools and providing professional development to them on best practices in literacy. We are very excited to be working with the students, teachers administrators and mayors to promote literacy in Bergen County!"
Above: Mayor Norman Schmelz at Washington School on February 11, 2015. (Photo courtesy of Washington School)
This year, six schools participated in the program: Harrington Park School, of Harrington Park; Dr. John Grieco Elementary School, of Englewood; Cherry Hill School, of River Edge; Roosevelt School, of Ridgefield Park; Washington School, of Bergenfield; and Lowell School, of Teaneck. Each student who participated in the event received a new book. Schools whose students read at least 1,000 books by May will receive a $1,000 stipend to be spent on books for the first grade classroom libraries.
Left: Mayor Paul Hoelscher meets with Harrington Park School's first grade students on January 28, 2015. (Photo courtesy of Harrington Park School).
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