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Union and community leaders to give books to students at Melrose Elementary



Union and community leaders will give free books to students at Melrose Elementary before school starts tomorrow.

The Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association and the Pinellas Educational Support Professionals Association are donating 1,000 books to students. The books come from First Book, a non-profit organization that provides books to children in need. The event is scheduled to start at 7:30 a.m. Community leaders who plan to participate include Nita Smith, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of the Suncoast, Kevin Gordon, a provost at St. Petersburg College, and St. Petersburg City Councilmember Karl Nurse.

The effort is to show students, parents and teachers at Melrose that the community is "willing to invest in their future," according to a release about the event.

Melrose has been the lowest-performing traditional elementary school in Florida for the last two years, according to reading data from the Florida Department of Education. Last year, just 10 percent of students passed the Florida Standard Assessment. Melrose was one of five schools featured in a yearlong Tampa Bay Times investigation, "Failure Factories" that showed how the School Board abandoned integration efforts in 2007 and then failed to deliver promised resources to the schools, which became predominantly poor and black.

Union and community leaders also plan to give books to the other four schools in the series, Campbell Park, Fairmount Park, Lakewood and Maximo elementaries. About 5,000 books total will be distributed to students in the five schools. The book giveway is part of an "ongoing effort to build strong connections between educators and students" and to "expand students' access to a wide variety of books," according to the release.

[Last modified: Tuesday, February 16, 2016 3:30pm]


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