For years, Ginger wanted to start a mobile library program for Atascosa County. She began asking for book donations to fill her “book bus”, but her dreams were put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the book donations sat in boxes in her garage. After volunteering at the breakfast and lunch lines for students which were set up during the pandemic, she began bagging up books from her donated collection to hand out with these meals, giving out nearly 6,000 books in all.
“I will probably never see these books again, but what is important about this is kids will have books to read during the summer. I hope to reach areas that are unlikely to come into town to visit our public library, but I will also be delivering books around town to anyone young or old who wants a book to read.” – Ginger Hollis, 7th Grade English Language Arts Teacher
When asked how she aligned with MRO’s commitment to take ownership of her own successes and make a difference, she said:
“This is the reason I became a teacher. I want to impact student lives in positive ways. I believe I do this on a daily basis on many levels - not just academically, but by taking an active interest in my students' lives, extracurricular activities, home and personal life, and building a bond with each of them. Education can't just be about academics. We fail miserably if that is our only focus because so many of our students are not emotionally ready to learn when they come to us. They are loaded down with baggage that most adults couldn't handle. It is a fine line. I am not their friend. But, I am their mentor, their teacher, their counselor, and they know that I will always be there for them.”
Through her work both inside and outside of the classroom, Ginger has seen a 10 point growth in her students’ reading scores year-over-year.
With the Unconventional Thinking in Teaching grant, Ginger plans to begin a summer reading program for her Honors classes. While they do not currently require summer reading, Ginger has the desire to bring this to her students after researching and studying the scores from neighboring districts. Depending on the success, she hopes to begin a summer reading program for all students.