SFUSD aims to increase literacy in schools

Thousands of donated books made their way Wednesday to a Castro district elementary school as part of National Read Across America Day.

The books were donated to the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy by San Francisco-based tech giant Salesforce, and amount to just a fraction of the titles the company plans to distribute throughout 17 other schools in the district, San Francisco Unified School District officials said.

Salesforce — which is paired with and acts as a sponsor for the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy through an initiative known as Circle the Schools — received the books during a company book drive last year that garnered more than 1 million books for schools around the globe.

“We’re so proud to be a Circle the Schools partner and of the work our employees are doing at

Harvey Milk Elementary Civic Rights Academy,” Ebony Frelix, vice president of philanthropy and engagement at Salesforce, said in a statement.

Wednesday’s donation is among other efforts to promote literacy in public school students, and comes as just 48 percent of San Francisco’s third grade students met or exceeded English and Language Arts Standards, according to results from the 2015 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress.

First Book, a national organization that connects underserved children with reading materials, and the SFUSD has joined forces to grant every kindergarten through fifth grade classroom in the district with an array of 300 diverse and age-appropriate books, district officials said.

“To become lifelong readers, kids need access to a wide variety books that meet them where they are and expand their horizons,” President and CEO of First Book Kyle Zimmer said in a statement.

Additionally, Spark* SF Public Schools, a nonprofit organization that fundraises for the SFUSD, the mayor’s office, the Board of Supervisors and the Board of Education, has committed to seek additional money for more classroom libraries throughout The City, according to school officials.

 

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