National Library Week inspires pilot program at San Pablo schools

National Library Week inspires pilot program at San Pablo schools
Downer Elementary students participate in a new literacy and career pathways pilot program launched this week at San Pablo schools. (Photo credit: San Pablo EDC)

This week in celebration of National Library Week, one San Pablo school per day is receiving the gift of books along with a visit by San Pablo community leaders and police personnel, including mascot Officer Pablo.

It’s part of a new pilot program promoting literacy and education on career pathways at San Pablo elementary and middle schools, a collaboration involving Kaiser Permanente, Travis Credit Union, the San Pablo Economic Development Corp. and San Pablo PD. 

In 15-minute assemblies at Dover Elementary yesterday and Downer Elementary today, students received recommended fiction and nonfiction books in English and Spanish, and they were encouraged to talk about what they like to read, about what they want to be when they grow up, and to ask questions about careers, such as being a police officer. They are even connected to career resources.

Photo courtesy of San Pablo EDC

They are also tasked with informing their teachers which books and subjects they’d like to read, after which San Pablo’s Beacon Schools Directors tap the San Pablo EDC to help make it happen.

San Pablo EDC and San Pablo PD plan to continue this localized effort in finding engaging ways to boost literacy and career pathways. They’re piloting this model as a way for youth to explore what they want to be and how they can access the skills and resources they need to get there. The aim is to create a customizable, scalable model that others can adopt.

“Literacy is the gateway to economic opportunity,” says Leslay Choy, Executive Director of San Pablo EDC, “which means that no matter what you want be when you grow up and whether or not you elect to go to college, you need to be able to read.”

Kids love to ask, “Why?” and this brief engagement allows them to see that their ability to read and write opens doors to the future they want, according to San Pablo EDC.

Correction: This story has been updated to state that the program is being piloted at San Pablo elementary and middle schools.