LISBON, Ohio (WKBN) – The Columbiana County Educational Service Center is trying something new this summer to connect school districts with the community.
They’re working with local teachers, students, the public and the Business Advisory Council to start a book club pilot program.
“We’re having a group of teachers, they were able to sign up if they were interested, they’re going to work on the curriculum all summer,” said Marie Williams, director of the educational service center. “They’re going to create their own curriculum, either partnering with other teachers in their district or others, and then in the Fall, they will present this, and their students will read it as a book selection for their class.”
On August 11, the group will meet and discuss what they thought of the book and how it can be promoted in the community.
The book they’ll read is Rocket Boys by Homer H. Hickam. The story takes place in the early 1960s in Coalwood, W. Va., and it follows these boys as they build and launch their own rockets. The whole town comes together and supports them on their journey as they end up going to a national science fair.
“We’re hoping that there’s a lot of connections between the book and things here in Columbiana County, and even though it happened in the late 50s early 60s, we see some relevance now, and we’re hoping that some of these ideas will kind of take off,” Williams said.
The goal can be summed up in the line Williams used, “One book, one community.” Williams hopes it fosters a connection between the community and schools. On top of that, it will provide an opportunity for speaking guests, activities and people to learn and be inspired.
“We’re going to try and find different ways that we can connect with local businesses. We’ve got NASA out of Cleveland. Now, we’ve got the whole SpaceX things going on. Even the idea maybe of maybe the students building rockets, launching them, maybe having a competition of some sort. We’re open to lots of different possibilities, and we’re hoping that we’ll just run with different ideas for the book,” Williams said.
Williams also mentioned trying to get the author to speak to students as well.
All of this was made possible through a $125,000 grant from Philanthropy Ohio and the Ohio Department of Education. Williams said the grant money was used earlier in the year on professional development.
Williams said the grant ends this year, but if the program is popular, he would love to do it each year, if possible.
Anyone interested in getting involved can contact Williams directly at the educational service center or go to their website to learn more.