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'Reading is the key that unlocks everything': Parkland P.S. benefits from Adopt a School program

Small school library in Sault Ste. Marie's east end receives literary facelift thanks to nationwide fundraiser

The library at Parkland Public School will be nearly 300 books richer after the east end K-8 school was ‘adopted’ by Coles in the Station Mall as part of the Indigo Adopt a School program.

The annual fundraising campaign is supporting 190 ‘high needs’ schools across Canada this year.

“The library needs help,” said principal Maurice Dugas. “Not just the library itself in terms of the contents of the library, but the environment itself.”

“We want kids to want to go there. We want kids to get involved in their reading, to be immersed, enthralled - and want to read on a regular basis, on a daily basis.”

Dugas says that the idea to apply for help from Indigo was the brainchild of two parents who currently sit on the elementary school’s parent council.

The parents initially applied for Indigo’s Love of Reading program, but were turned down.

They subsequently went into the Coles location in the Station Mall and spoke with staff there, and it was suggested to them that they apply for the Indigo Adopt A School program.

After being selected as one of 83 schools in Ontario for the program, the three-week fundraiser began at the Coles in Station Mall during the month of September, where customers are asked at checkout if they would like to make a donation to the school in order to enhance its library with books.

“They themselves realized and saw, based on their visits to the school that there’s a need,” Dugas told SooToday. “The need is for the reading resources that we have within the school.”

“A lot of it’s outdated, so they did not get the grant for love of reading, but they didn’t stop there - they’re very persistent, which I appreciate,”

Parkland Public School has been proactive when it comes to boosting literacy rates among its 170 students, adding another Scholastic book fair to the academic year (the school had previously only held one book fair per year) and implementing a spontaneous block of student reading time known as DEAR - drop everything and read.

Dugas says that by raising cash for books through the Indigo Adopt a School program, the library will now be able to cater to a wide variety of students who read at many different levels.  

“We can never have enough reading resources within our schools,” Dugas said. “Kids love a different variety of genre books - fiction, non-fiction.”

“We’re finding boys now are really getting attached to non-fiction. They love the reptile books, they love the animal books, while others enjoy the chapter books, with varying levels of reading attached to them to challenge them.”

As of Friday morning, the Adopt a School program has raised $2,728 that will go toward the purchase of about 272 books for the small library.

“For what we’ve accomplished in a short time period, I am so proud of the work that these parents have done,” said Dugas. “It just shows that the caring and the understanding of the needs within a school system are out there, and other parents are hearing it, and other parents are paying attention to it, and other parents are contributing to it.”

Dugas says that he’s thrilled about efforts of parents and staff to enhance literacy for the children who attend the high-needs elementary school.

“Reading is in every subject, not just in language,” said Dugas. “You have to know how to read in science, you have to know how to read in social studies, geography, history, math.”

“Reading is the key that unlocks everything.”

Donations for the Parkland Public School library can be made at the Coles Station Mall location until Sunday.


James Hopkin

About the Author: James Hopkin

James Hopkin is a reporter for SooToday based in Sault Ste. Marie
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