Eagle’s student-led Bus Book Club honored by Board of Education

Image of the BBC creators, and images of club members reading to younger studentsOn a Monday morning in October, Drey Martone’s fifth-grade class gathered as each student shared something that “filled their bucket” over the weekend, a practice in appreciation the class engaged in at the start of each week. Harper S. shared how she had witnessed an older student reading a book to a kindergartener on the bus the week prior and was touched by the scene. This sparked an idea! Inspired by Harper’s story, Mrs. Martone suggested that perhaps the fifth-graders could start a club where fifth-grade students could read to younger students. And, with that, the Eagle Bus Book Club (BBC) was born!

The enthusiastic fifth-graders loved the idea and immediately began brainstorming the details. First, they developed a proposal in the form of a Google Slides presentation detailing the concept, potential issues (and suggested solutions), plans for promotion, areas in which they would need support, and plans to ensure the club will continue once they head to BCMS. The students then presented their idea to Principal Dianna Reagan and received her approval.

“In all my years as principal at Eagle Elementary, I can confidently say that this student-driven initiative is truly exceptional,” said Mrs. Reagan. “It was born out of genuine care and compassion. These remarkable students took it upon themselves to improve the bus rides for younger students, and I couldn’t be prouder of their efforts. I have full confidence that they will carry forward this compassion in making a difference for others in their middle school years.”

With encouragement from Mrs. Martone and classroom aide Lisa Levasalmi, the students thoughtfully planned every detail of the club. They created a proposal to the other fifth-grade classes, designed a form for interested students to sign up, crafted an overview letter for K-2 parents with an interest form, developed a training program for fifth-graders, developed a contract for participating fifth-grade students to sign highlighting their role as mentors to younger students, produced a FAQ sheet, designed promotional materials such as flyers and a video, researched and chose vests (so that younger students could easily locate their bus buddy after school), and paired students with their buddy readers.

“The students did a wonderful job working together to develop the Bus Book Club,” said Mrs. Martone. “I loved seeing the way they all worked on different committees and their pride when it all came together. We appreciated all the support from the other teachers, staff, and bus drivers – it was truly a team effort. This was a great experience and I hope the fifth-graders build on this club experience as they move into sixth grade.”

Recognizing the need to include students who do not ride the bus, the students established the B4BBC. With the cooperation of teachers, these students met their buddy readers a few minutes before the end of the school day to read together.

When asked what they enjoyed most about reading with the younger students, the fifth-graders shared the following highlights:

“I like reading with my buddy because she chooses interesting books.” – Natalie A.

“My buddy makes a lot of funny comments.” Ellie L.

“I found a series that my buddy really liked on the first day.” Evelyn P.

“My buddy and I have good discussions after reading.” – Harper S.

“Just seeing my buddy enjoy the book!” – Brynn B.

“My buddy wanted to bring books but forgot the books, so I had to improvise and make up stories.” – London A.

“I liked sharing books that I liked when I was younger, it was really cool to see my buddy like them too.” – Haylie S.

On Wednesday, June 26 –  their first official day of summer vacation, some members of the BBC committee presented information about the BBC to the Board of Education at its meeting. Each student was presented with an Eagle pin in recognition of their hard work by Board of Education President Holly Dellenbaugh and Superintendent Jody Monroe. Students unable to attend the meeting received their pins at school on Monday.

As this class moves onto BCMS in the fall, Eagle hopes to continue the BBC and the B4BBC.

Thank you to all of the students who participated in the inaugural year of the BBC. Thank you to Principal Reagan, Mrs. Martone, Ms. Levasalmi, the teachers, bus drivers, and parents who supported and nurtured this idea. And, thank you to the students in Mrs. Martone’s class for all of your hard work organizing the BBC, good luck in middle school: 

Natalie A.
London A.
Brynn B.
Owen C.
Aaliyah D.
Nicholas E.
Cordelia K.
Lincoln K.
Ellie L.
Mari M.
Henry M.
Ryder M.
Theo P.
Evelyn P.
Susanna R.
Harper S.
Haylie S.
Harrison S.