Betsy School Bus prepares for second year with longer schedule

The Betsy School Bus is now geared up and ready to run for another summer, this time bigger and more ambitious than ever before.

Carla Whiles, director of the book bus, said this will be its second year of operation.

“Last year, we did it for four weeks,” Whiles said. “We gave out over 2,000 books to over 900 students.”

This year, they plan to go for five weeks instead of four, and with one year of experience under their belt already, they plan to serve even more children in 13 different neighborhoods.

The book bus tours neighborhoods three days a week during the summer time. Children who visit the traveling library are allowed to claim three books they see as their own permanently at no cost to the child or parent.

“The intention is to get children excited about reading,” she said. “These kids run towards the bus.”

There is another motive as well, however: sliding academic levels during the summer months.

“One of our teachers who works the bus did her dissertation study on the effects of this school bus,” she said. “We did statistics on 100 of the children, and we took their spring reading assessment scores and compared those to their following fall reading assessment scores. All of those children had a significant slowdown in that academic slide.”

It is not just younger children who benefit from the bus, however, as the bus stocks books for older children in middle and even high school, stocking book series like Twilight.

The bus itself is the collaborative effort of a variety of organizations, including the Northeast Community Credit Union, Niswonger Children’s Hospital and more. The Tennessee College of Applied Technology was responsible for renovating the inside of the bus, pulling out the seats and installing the book shelves.

“All of these books were donated to us,” Whiles said. “We have not needed a formal book drive yet.”

Whiles said part of the idea came from a similar “Book-mobile” when she was a child, and other school systems in the area do similar book programs with varying methods.

For Whiles, though, the upcoming second year has led to a contagious excitement from her and, her fellow bus workers and the students.

“Previous kids have been helping talk it up,” she said. “They ask ‘Are you coming to my neighborhood?’”

The bus’s schedule is available on the Elizabethton City Schools website or on the Betsy Book Bus’s Facebook page. The bus will run from June 11 to July 19, and its schedule will run on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Local news

TDEC to host public input session for home energy rebate programs

Local news

JCPD joins National Prescription Drug Take Back Day to promote safe medication disposal

Local news

Roan Mountain Spring Naturalist Rally scheduled this weekend

Local news

State Historical marker to honor John Sevier in Washington County

Local news

Enjoy the magic of synchronous fireflies at Greeneville’s Firefly Festival in June

Local news

A Life Lived: Carolyn Walker was a beacon of hope and light in family, community

Local news

Flag Pond to host Upper E-T Fiddlers Convention

Local news

Food City earns 2024 Great Place To Work Certification™

Local news

Happy Valley High Quiz Bowl team will compete in championship tournament

Local news

Elizabethton City Police issue ‘Peddler’ Permits for Brightspeed Internet Sales

Local news

Early morning fire brings significant damage to local business

Local news

Northeast State celebrates NC3 Signing Day with students

Local news

Tennessee ranks as 7th least expensive gas market in the U.S.

Arrests

Johnson City man arrested for aggravated domestic assault and interference with emergency calls

Local news

ETSU preparing to launch first-of-its-kind program in Tennessee

Local news

ETSU Upward Bound program participating in Summer Food Service Program

Community

UHS Class of ’64 enjoys reunion

Local news

CCSO, TSA warn of scam calls claiming to solicit funds for sheriff’s association

Local news

Elizabethton High School FFA places 2nd in Regional Envirothon competition

Arrests

Recent arrests made by Carter County Sheriff’s Office

Local news

Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Shelter overrun with dogs

Arrests

JCPD arrests Spartanburg man in drug bust

Local news

Milligan students honored at Awards Convocation

Local news

Kathy Campbell and Mike Nidiffer join Renea Jones’s campaign team