At last week's Dallas ISD board meeting, district spokesman Jon Dahlander told the trustees that so far, a few hundred folks had signed up to read to kiddos on Friday, when the district's hoping to round up 1,111 volunteers for its so-called "community-wide celebration of reading." Which is ...? Well, on Friday, which is 11/11/11, the district's going to stop down classes at 11:11 a.m. and have grown-ups read to the students for 11 minutes. For the most part, the initiative ("students and adults alike will be reminded of the importance of literacy to our lives") has been promoted solely on the district's website.
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Transamerica yesterday donated $10,000 toward the event, to help with purchasing books. Which is awful nice and all, but the district's really hoping to get folks into the schools at week's end -- and I know, for instance, that at my son's elementary, only a handful of slots have been filled, which is why I'm schlepping Schutze to the school Friday (I don't think he knows this yet). Maybe the timing's bad: Mayor Mike Rawlings, for instance, who campaigned on the promise of fixing the district, won't be attending because of the Veterans Day Parade and the opening of the downtown Omni Hotel, according to chief of staff Paula Blackmon. "But he's very much in support," says Dahlander in advance of a press conference scheduled tomorrow that will feature the mayor, DISD board president Lew Blackburn and others.
Dahlander says today that United Way has pledged to dispatch at least 100 volunteers throughout the district, "but their goal is 250, and they've brought in folks who have never volunteered before." He adds this was Blackburn's idea, and, says Dahlander, "what a unique oppotunity to give back to your community." But make sure: Before you show up at a school, you have to fill out the district's volunteer form, which involves a background check. Principals will be advised accordingly.