BCSS Express – Butts County School System’s New Mobile Library is Ready to Hit the Road | News

The Butts County School System unveiled its newest tool in an effort to improve literacy in the county on December 9 – the BCSS Express – a mobile library that is really much more of a mobile teaching space with a distribution of meals, WIFI, Chromebooks, indoor and outdoor learning spaces, books and puppets.

Funding for the custom school bus comes from the $3.9 million Literacy for Learning, Living and Leading in Georgia (L4GA) grant the school system received in 2020 to support literacy in the community during the next five years. Other plans for the grant, which amounts to $783,465 per year for five years, include one book per month for children ages 0-5 and providing each teacher with a classroom library.

Superintendent Dr. Todd Simpson introduced the BCSS Express to a special group of guests at the Rufus Adams Auditorium – representatives from each of the Elementary and Secondary Student Advisory Groups. He gave some of the history of the literacy effort in the county to the students.

“About six years ago, we began the process of determining how we can improve literacy in our school district and our community,” Simpson said. “Improving literacy is a complex, multi-faceted challenge for communities in our country and around the world.

“We set up a literacy working group and held our first meeting a little over two years ago. About 70 community members showed up and wanted to join in this effort to create a strong community of readers in Butts County. When it comes to child literacy, we know it starts with a solid foundation.

“We started with this idea of ​​creating a mobile library to be a link between the community and the schools, to be a link between the community and the library, and to make sure that we intended to build a campaign of visible literacy.”

Simpson said the bus project started nearly two years ago, but the pandemic threatened to shut it down until community members stepped in to help.

“It’s a really special tool,” he said. “It’s a lot of collaboration. We started two years ago with the bus and a blank slate, then we came up with the wrap theme, and then the pandemic hit, and that put the brakes on things. Our construction class in high school was working on it and that put a stop to it. T&M Trailer Sales stepped in and helped.

“A lot of local talent was involved in developing the theme that went into the wrapper, and I want to thank Sheriff Gary Long. He actually paid for the bus to be wrapped.

“Brian Worley did the inside of the bus for us. When you walk in, it will take your breath away. It’s beautiful. United Way, Central Georgia EMC, and Dollar General donated books.

“The vision for this bus is that it will be on the road all summer long,” added Simpson. “It serves a dual purpose. We can do our summer feeding program in the back of the bus and serve meals in the back. You can do parenting classes, a myriad of activities where you teach lessons, and you can do a bit of theater on the bus with a puppet show in the back. It will be a visible sign of the priority this county has placed on literacy.

After the presentation, everyone came out for a Butts County Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting for the bus, followed by a mini-lesson for the students, who sat on treadmills under an attached canopy on the bus, followed by visits to Le bus.

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Jeremy S. McLain