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Sand Hill Elementary School Gets Book Vending Machine for Students

Photo by Alan Olson Sand Hill Elementary student Kenzie Johnson was among the first in line to select a book from Inchy’s Bookworm Vending Machine. She picked a classic: R.L. Stein’s “Night of the Living Dummy.” Also pictured is principal Krenna Allender.

DALLAS — Sand Hill Elementary students lined up to get first dibs on the books on offer from their school’s new vending machine.

A gaggle of students were brought to the ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday morning, each with a token they earned through dedicated effort to improve themselves. Inchy’s Bookworm Vending Machine was stocked with dozens of popular books from Scholastic, and its contents can be taken for keeps by students who achieve goals they set themselves through the school’s Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports Program.

Students set their own behavioral and academic goals and work towards them, and after sufficient progress is made, their reward is a token they can redeem.

“By selecting books of their likes and interests, students are able to build their home libraries, share in the excitement with their families, and have continued access to new, quality books,” said principal Krenna Allender.

“There is something very special about putting books in the hands of students and highlighting reading as a reward or a treasure, rather than a task, chore or assignment.”

Once the books in the machine start to run low, students will be asked to make suggestions for what to restock it with for the next order. The initial run of books was provided through a grant, while future restocking will be shouldered by Sand Hill.

The vending machine was procured and initially stocked through donations from the Dallas United Methodist Church, Sand Hill UMC, Sand Hill Elementary School PTO, and a grant from the EdVenture Group, Inc.

Jennifer Wotring, senior program manager and West Virginia Family Engagement Center family engagement specialist, was on the scene representing the EdVenture Group. She said the group is working with 100 schools across the state in cohorts of 25.

Within Marshall County, Wotring worked with Sand Hill to figure out how the school would be best served through the grant.

A teacher saw that another school elsewhere in the country had received the Bookworm Vending Machine, and decided to pursue one locally.

“The great thing is that the majority of the expense was with the vending machine,” Wotring said. “I’ve been talking with (school counselor Claire Juszczak) and Scholastic has a lot of book deals, and there are other things she’s been looking at to make sure they can replenish, and we’ll certainly help before our year is up, look for additional funding if there’s a need for it.”

Wotring estimated that the total cost of the vending machine was around $4,000, most of which came from the grant.

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