Committee formed at Desert Sands Unified School District to decide how to use grant money to promote literacy

In October 2019, Riverside County Office of Education (RCOE) was the recipient of a grant focusing on early literacy presented by the California Department of Education (CDE). Called  “Readership,” the $54,000 grant includes “Read to me. Any age. Any stage,” developed by RCOE.

Desert Sands Unified School District was selected to be one of 10 districts in the county to partner with both CDE and RCOE. The initiative will allow us to continue to increase our students’ reading abilities.

Inchy the Bookworm

Inchy the Bookworm

As part of the grant award, a committee was formed at Desert Sands Unified School District to best decide how to use the funds to promote literacy. Among the many ideas, two have already been launched. As part of the mission and vision of DSUSD, we have nine core values that form the basis of both our educational programming and our staff beliefs.

Three of those values are equity, inclusion, and relationships. The committee decided to buy books based on these three themes for all elementary school classrooms. The district has 19 elementary schools as well as the Adams Early Childhood Learning Center, our Head Start program located in the district administration building, the Eisenhower Community Education Center, and various preschool and afterschool programs throughout the cities of Bermuda Dunes, Indian Wells, Indio, La Quinta, and Palm Desert.

In what is both a fun and innovative way to put books in the hands of our students, the committee discovered the Inchy Bookworm vending machine. A golden token allows children to select a book of their very own. The vending machine is located at the district welcome center and staff will be rewarding students with golden bookworm tokens as they visit DSUSD. New students to the district will receive a book of choice as a welcome gift and no child will leave the building without a book.

Plans to expand the program are being discussed as students (and staff) from throughout the district are anxious to give Inchy a try.

Editor’s note: Michael Wilhite, Senior Director of Elementary Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment contributed to this story.

Image Sources

  • Inchy: DSUSD
  • Superintendent Scott Bailey-and-Michael Wilhite: DSUSD