A Little Collaboration Pays Big Rewards

Terri Bailery
Librarian and BFC
Mountain View Elementary
It’s amazing what a school can accomplish with some enthusiastic support and a little dose of imagination and creativity.

A case in point is Mountain View Elementary School in Parker, Colorado, which was able to sell hundreds of books at its recent Book Fair.

It was all hands on deck last spring, with students, teachers, and volunteers working together to transform the school into a full-blown carnival to promote their Book Fair. Volunteers made decorative tents, ticket booths, and a “Read-a-Coaster,” and teachers lent their support by getting their students to create carnival-themed decorations for hallway walls throughout the school.

Everyone was eager to get into the act. Kindergarteners made bouncy balls for cut-outs of seals adorning hallway walls, which gave the appearance of seals throwing the balls back and forth. First-graders made popcorn containers, and second-graders drew clown faces, which were featured in cut-out tents hanging on the walls.

“It was a fantastic collaborative effort between staff, parents from the PTO and, of course, our principal. He was on board with some of the crazy stunts we pulled,” said Terri Bailey, the school librarian and Fair chairperson. “I couldn’t believe how much teachers and classes pitched in to decorate classrooms. Kids drew clowns and wrote about them. And our special education teacher decorated her whole hallway with words and pictures to help her kids connect with what was going on in the rest of the building.”

The Fair kicked off with Spirit Week, during which Bailey dressed up as a clown and pulled Principal Drew Francis around in a cage through each classroom. The goal was to collect $50 in “bail money” through the One for Books program to pay for Principal Francis’ release from the cage. The school far exceeded the goal, raising a whopping $300 during first day of the principal’s “imprisonment.”

By the start of the Fair, the students had contributed $800 in One for Books donations. A portion of the donations was used to purchase Book Fair books for the school and classroom libraries, and the remainder of the money was given out in the form gift certificates to deserving students to purchase a book at the Fair. (Scholastic matches One for Books contributions with a donation of books to three non-profit organizations that help families in need.)

The school also hosted a Family Night, staffed by a Junior Crew - a group of kids from nearby Ponderosa and Legend High Schools signing up to help run event. The Family Night coincided with Mountain View’s spring student musical and included food and carnival games run by the Junior Crew. The pre-fair promotion also featured a 100,000-minute reading challenge that lasted the month of April, with awards given to the top class and top readers per class.

After the Fair, Principal Francis once again “got into the act,” dressing up as a girl clown and visiting all the classrooms to thank students for their hard work and support.

“He’s been a really a good sport. Having his backing was a huge part of our success,” Bailey said.

The Family Night and Fair were a great success – “bigger than any of us expected them to be,” Bailey said. “From Scholastic’s support to the assistance of parents and staff, it was a very collaborative effort, and the excitement just kept growing. By having everyone contribute, we were able make the Fair an event that everyone will remember, while tripling the One for Books donations towards our school library.”
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