Higher early education success, increased reading scores, higher post-test gains – reading from a young age can make a lifetime of difference for children, and thanks to the work of the Ferst Readers foundation, plenty of young locals are seeing those very same benefits.
The group delivers free, age-specific books and resources to enrolled children every month until their fifth birthday, and the Polk branch alone sent out over 1,300 books to young readers in January 2020. Moving that many books naturally costs money, so representatives from Ferst were present at the most recent PSD School Board meeting to thank their various sponsors and those who’ve helped support them.
Entities such as Sherman Ross State Farm, the Polk Administrative Office, and others were thanked, but the highlight of the night came when Superintendent Laurie Atkins presented Ferst with a check for over $2,400 on behalf of Polk School District.
“You’ve come and spoken with us several times, and it’s really reigned true with us,” Atkins said. “At the district level, last week, our board adopted a reader. Each of them gave their $40. So, tonight, we’d like to present Ferst Reader with a check for over $2,400.”
The money will make sure even more youths have access to books and print material, so parents looking to register their own child can find more information by visiting https://ferstreaders.org/ or by speaking with local members.
The board worked through a small agenda after presenting the check, but Atkins also took time to thank the City of Cedartown for making a resolution in support of public education and not expanding a state-wide voucher program that would see tax dollars distributed to parents for use in private education.
The board made a unanimous resolution against the voucher program earlier in February, but Atkins was pleased to see the municipalities rally together to combat the legislation.
“Last week you’ll remember that the board committed to a resolution they felt passionate about on the funding of public education and the voucher systems within Georgia,” Atkins said. “Today I got information from the City of Cedartown that they, too, have passed a resolution in support of public education and not expanding the voucher program here in the State of Georgia.”
Voucher recipients would be entitled to the state-wide portion of funding their local school district gets per student – nearly 54 percent of the total when counting local and federal dollars. The board felt this would see students taken out of schools like those found in Polk School District and negatively impact public schooling in general.
“It’s nice knowing we live in a community where all the municipalities, the agencies are working together for a common cause,” Atkins said. “Focusing on the growth of our children. Focusing on building the capacity within Polk County. Hopefully bringing our kids back to Polk County and providing them with a great education to serve us in Polk County. So, I just wanna say thank you to the City of Cedartown.”
Polk School Board will also have a presence at the Delegate Assembly in Savannah, Georgia later this June. The group approved Board Member Britt Madden as their primary delegate; Board Member Bernard Morgan will be the alternate delegate.