News & Events
December is here already and we have many exciting things happening here at Ellis this month. We will be having our Title I Family Night on December 7th from 5:00 pm-7:00 pm. During this time, we will have ornament making in the cafeteria, pictures with Santa, story time with the Portneuf Library, and time for learners to share their data folders with parents/guardians. Then on December 14th & 15th, we will have our school holiday program. We have tried to divide the program into three different time slots in order for there to be enough room in the cafeteria for parents and guests.
The cold weather is upon us, so please make sure your child is dressed appropriately. Ellis has a cold weather policy for learners to be outside unless temperatures drop to below 10 degrees.
If you ever have any comments, questions or concerns, please feel free to call or email me at any time. I hope you all have a restful winter break and a wonderful holiday season.
POCATELLO – As a child, Tracy Collum saw herself in the protagonists she read about – like Ramona in Beverly Cleary’s classic children’s books.
As an adult, she realized she was lucky to have that experience. A lack of diverse books means some young readers don’t see book characters who look like them or have similar backgrounds.
So Collum, the associate dean for Idaho State University’s Graduate School, decided to do something about it.
In 2020, she got the idea to host a book drive. People from the community and even around the country could participate by purchasing diverse, inclusive books to be donated to Pocatello’s K-4 students. The initiative was a hit and is now in its third year. To date, donors have gifted more than 1,800 books to Pocatello area students at 18 schools, including traditional, charter, and private schools.
“We want to expose students to other cultures and worlds they might not be exposed to on a daily basis,” Collum said. “It’s just really important for students to be able to find a love of reading.”
This week, Collum and other Idaho State staff members delivered this year’s bounty – 764 new books headed to the library shelves.
The media clerks were thrilled – perhaps especially Irena Naumu.
“I never saw me in books growing up,” she said.
Naumu said she is white and Polynesian, but never saw Polynesian characters. So now, as the media clerk for Ellis Elementary, she’s made sure to change that. The library now has a copy of a book called “Punky Aloha” by Shar Tuiasoa, about a “shy little Polynesian girl on a quest for butter for her Grandmother’s famous banana bread.”
It’s one of a number of diverse books she features on a wall in the library so all students see themselves somewhere.
And Wednesday, Naumu received a stack of about 40 more inclusive books to add to library shelves. She was thrilled to see one of the books was in Spanish, and already had in mind some Spanish-speaking students who would be interested in it.
At Tyhee Elementary, some fourth and fifth graders were in the library checking out books when ISU made its delivery. The students’ eyes opened wide and their jaws dropped when they saw the stacks of books wrapped in ribbons.
“Having opportunities to read and being able to choose books that are fun, and that interest and excite them is important,” AJ Watson, the director of elementary education for the Pocatello-Chubbuck School District, said. “We want everyone to feel welcome, empowered, and successful in school. We want them to see themselves in books and have that overall feeling of being included.”
Watson said the district’s media center specialists always review and approve titles before they’re added to libraries, and these books will go through that same process.
The books were donated by more than 60 individuals and organizations, including Idaho State’s English Department, College of Business, Idaho Central Credit Union, United Way of Southeast Idaho, and the Pocatello chapter of the National Association for Advancement of Colored People.
Angela Shreve is September "Teacher of the Month" for Ellis Elementary. Angela is being presented with the award by Pennie Hugues, of Pinehurst. Each month Pinehurst is pleased to honor outstanding teachers in our area elementary schools with a floral bouquet and certificate. Congratulations Angela, and thank you for all you do!
Tyler Cooper is March “Teacher of the Month" for Ellis Elementary. Tyler is being presented the award by Pennie Hugues, of Pinehurst. Each month Pinehurst is pleased to honor outstanding teachers in our area elementary school with a floral bouquet and certificate. Congratulation Tyler, and thank you for all that you do.