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</head> Sister follows sister in book collecting for students
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Updated: 01/22/2014 08:00:04AM

Sister follows sister in book collecting for students

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Students at Gibbons Street Elementary pick out books.


ACE program prospective members and their families learned about the mentoring program in architecture, construction and engineering from Tampa Electric Company representative Vonia Wathers at Thursday's student orientation meeting at BHS. The new program, the first in Polk County, gives students from Bartow's Engineering and Construction academies who are interested in the three fields, a taste of the three career tracks throughout the semester-long program. During the program, students will examine bridge construction and design under the guidance of mentors from area firms. The semester project will include projects that could lead to internships, summer jobs or scholarships. Academy instructors Rod Tampling and Jimmy GIles said mentors are still needed to guide the 50 student participants. Anyone interested in mentoring these students is asked to contact Tampling or Giles at BHS.

Christine Roslow


An example of a Little Free Library.

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Gabrielle Snyder, a seventh grader at Bartow Middle, is following in the footsteps of her older sister.

As a student enrolled in Bartow High’s IB program, Alana Snyder started a Creativity, Action and Service project she called Books Speak Volumes. CAS projects are a mandatory core component required for international baccalaureate students to complete their IB diploma.

Alana collected 6,000 books in one year. She’s now at University of South Florida, but her legacy lives on thanks to her little sister Gabrielle.

Since May, Gabrielle has collected nearly 5,000 books and donated them to public schools across Polk County.

Gabrielle with the help of her father, hands out fliers at yard sales, churches and any place where she might find used books asking people to donate them. She and her dad then collect the books and give them to schools including, Floral Avenue Elementary, Bartow Middle, Stephens Elementary, Warbonnet Elementary and Gibbons Street Elementary. Of his daughter’s efforts, David Snyder said, “Both of my girls are super readers. They love books.”

Students at Gibbons Street Elementary recently received 1,000 books from Books Speak Volumes. Each student is then given an opportunity to choose three or four books of their choice to take home with them.

For Kimberly Umbra, a reading coach at Gibbons Street Elementary, the advantage of the good work being done is clear.

“The advantage to Gibbons Street Elementary is that many of our students don’t have books in their homes. So this allows them to get books into their homes, ultimately increasing reading skills,” she said.

To find out more about Books Speak Volumes contact David Snyder at 863-701-0296, or at


Friday, Jan. 24 there will be some barbecue at Bartow Middle School. Meals are $6 each and includes pulled pork, baked beans, coleslaw, tea and a cookie. People can eat-in or take out at the BMS cafeteria from 4-7 p.m. Tickets are available from band students.

151 students earned T-shirts

Bartow Middle School had 151 students raise their FAIR reading scores by an entire level or more, and these students will get a free T-shirt next week, principal Pamela Henderson said.

The T-shirts say “Keep Calm and Read On.”

The school is also offering free “Bartow” camo shirts to students who raise their Discovery scores one level in math or science.

Open enrollment for Magnet or Choice programs starts this month

Parents who want to submit an online application to enroll their student in a Polk County magnet or choice school program for the 2014-15 school year can apply beginning at 8 am. Monday, Jan. 27. It lasts until Tuesday, Feb. 18, the school district said.

Online applications can be found by going to For additional information contact the Office of Magnet, Choice and Federal Programs at 863-534-0631 or

A distinctive theme and/or other program feature characterize magnet and choice schools. Magnet and choice schools are schools of choice that provide the standard required curriculum of general education to students while using special learning themes, such as science and technology. These themes serve to attract students to the schools.

College planning/financial aid seminar Wednesday

A college planning and financial aid seminar is scheduled from 6-8 p.m. at Bartow High School Wednesday, Jan. 22.

It is open to all students in Bartow, IB and Summerlin Academy. Parents and students are invited and can get information on what they need to know to apply for financial aid.

There is no registration necessary for the seminar sponsored by the Florida Department of Education Office of Student Financial Assistance.

For information call 863-534-7405 or email

Little Free Libraries can be built for your school

In an effort to boost literacy, library media specialists across the district are supporting the Little Free Library for needy students. Throughout Celebrate Literacy Week, collection drives are taking place to provide books. For information on where to drop off items, contact Jacqueline Rose, Sr. Coordinator, Library Media Services, Polk County Public Schools, 863.647.4714,

To have a Little Free Library built by Bartow High’s Engineering and Shop Departments costs $100. Those interested should contact Sherry Maberry, Library Media Specialist, Bartow High, at 863-534-0199, or

Little Free Libraries resemble mini-houses and are designed for children/patrons to exchange books on the honor system. They are placed in communities where children have limited access to transportation to local libraries. The hope is that providing more options for how students access reading materials, will increase the level of literacy among students across the District.

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