One District, One Book‘s Pioneer
In Bentonville, Arkansas, Apple Glen Elementary School completed the OSOB program in 2009. It was such a resounding success that the school’s principal, Lisa St. John, approached Bentonville’s superintendent with the idea of having all nine elementary schools in the district participate simultaneously in the program. After receiving approval she spearheaded this groundbreaking undertaking of One District, One Book (ODOB). The district-wide approach, implemented this February ‘09 using the book, The Trumpet of the Swan, by E.B. White, has several remarkable advantages. All of the school principals worked collaboratively to implement the program in the best way possible. Organizations throughout the community joined in to promote and support participation. The local library scheduled book-related activities in conjunction with the program. The spontaneous “book buzz” interactions in Bentonville became a roar and were heard in places ranging from cub scout meetings to Wal-Marts. These incidental talks occurring in the community at a grass roots level set up the foundation for a district wide ‘cultural literacy shift’ pulling in other organizations such as the public library. A third novel district-wide in Bentonville schools is already being planned.