A community project put on by the Associated Students of the University of Nevada at University of Nevada, Reno enlisted the help of Sparks’ Jesse Hall Elementary School and Reno’s Caughlin Ranch Elementary School to collect more than 4,000 books, most of which benefited Picollo.
Hall fourth grade teacher Joni Martindale said the drive made an important impact for the donors and the recipient.
“We had everything from books for toddlers to adult books and cookbooks,” she said. “I saw old books, classics, children’s books, all kinds of things. (Picollo staff) were ecstatic.”
Picollo is the only Washoe County school to serve severely disabled children, teens and young adults in Washoe Valley, according to the school’s principal, Matthew Burak.
“To me, personally, this has just been remarkable, just the spirit of giving to the community on the UNR campus,” he said.
A teacher’s workroom once held a small collection of books for the educators to grab, but Picollo never had a student-accessible area to peruse the books themselves or to be read to by their teachers or aides.
“It will also have a parent information section in the library, as well as teacher resources,” Burak said. “It’s just a win-win for everybody. It’s very bright and cheerful. I just see it getting a lot of use in the future.”
Burak said the planning process for the library began with allocating a room on its campus. To spruce it up, an Eagle scout donated materials and built shelves and painted the room’s walls.
One of the school’s parents then led the charge and partnered with the ASUN, putting on a fashion show in addition to the book drive.
The grand opening was slated for Friday, but it was postponed until after the holidays when school is back in session after Jan. 4, Burak said.
“It’s not real big, but they do have computers and an active board and stuff for teachers to use with the kids,” she said. “It’s a happy, sunny place.”
Martindale said she visited the library one evening earlier this month and was impressed by the results of the drive.
“They did a good job,” she said. “I was pleased to see they picked something that could touch so many lives.”
Martindale said at Hall, 682 students helped bring in books for the project. The students at ASUN would come by the campus and pick them up to box them for delivery to Picollo.
Burak said for the students, who may have speech impediments or can’t read or write, interactive touch screen computers will give them another tool for learning.
“A lot of people would say, ‘What are these kids going to get out of these books?’ he said. “Frankly, the majority of them or all of them don’t’ read or write but it doesn’t mean they still don’t respond to literature and how to read books.”
School Notes is a weekly feature on the good news in Washoe County School District with an emphasis on Sparks, Spanish Springs and Sun Valley campuses. Tips on upcoming school events, programs that have a positive influence on students or accolades worth sharing may be sent to reporter Jessica Garcia at firstname.lastname@example.org.