RISE (Relief in Securing Education) for a Brighter Future: ESOL Book Bundles | SEL Toolkits

“That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.” – Jhumpa Lahiri

How do you place books and resources in the hands of students in need while classes are held remotely?  The Education Foundation of BCPS found a way; by collaborating with community partners, BCPS offices, specialists, and volunteers to answer the need.


In the month of December, 2020, the BCPS Office of ESOL, the Office of Library Media Programs, and the Office of Career and Technical Education, began collaborating with The Education Foundation of BCPS to create a new campaign, RISE (Relief in Securing Education) for a Brighter Future: ESOL  Book Bundles | SEL (Social Emotional Learning) ToolKits.  The toolkits were distributed to elementary schools throughout the district to provide supplemental resources to BCPS ESOL (English as a Second Language) kindergarten students and help the development of emerging literary skiills.   Each toolkit, built in a pizza box,  contained a variety of 5 books (both in English and Spanish), a stress ball, a journal with pens and pencils, crayons and watercolor paint sets to decorate and personalize the Book Bundle Toolkit box and a program guidebook with IM Healthy Lessons and Handout Activities to decrease stress and anxiety.


As school and community partners came together as members of Team BCPS, the toolkits were assembled, packaged, and distributed by volunteers from the community and a several BCPS offices at The George Washington Carver Center for the Arts and Technology during the week of January 25 through 29, 2021, impacting 1,027 students.  “Providing students with the brand-new books in multiple languages and rseources impacts the Continuity of Learning and Liteacy.” stated Dr. Erin Sullivan, BCPS ESOL Coordinator.  “As a team we are committed to working with our families to help them experience a successful year.  It is a pleasure, coming together and working collaboratively with the education foundation to impact our students across the district.”

The estimated value of the toolkits shared was over $20,000.

A project this size requires talent and support from several people, considering what was required to ensure success.  Purchasing, transport, inventory management, space to implement, toolkit assembly processes, distribution, and the coordination of the entire project was an effort made by many.

For that, we extend our appreciation and gratitude to the following Champions of Education:

Community partners who participated in the project include:  Follet Corporation, Michael Phelps Foundation (MPF), National Teachers Associates, Inc., Northrop Grumman, SECU (State Employees Credit Union), Toyota Financial Services, T. Rowe Price, and United Way of Central Maryland, who provided grant awards, monetary donations, and in-kind items to the campaign.

A big shout out goes to those who collaborated with the foundation to create the campaign, Dr. Erin Sullivan, Coordinator BCPS Office of ESOL, Fran Glick, Coordinator Office of Library Media Programs, Alicia Fales, Supervisor Office of Career and Technology Education and Advisor of Educators Rising,  and Debbie Phelps, Executive Director of The Education Foundation of BCPS.

Thanks also is extended to those who volunteered, including; Dr. Rachel Jones, Community Superintendent; Erin Sullivan, Janet Chao, Xiang Li, Gevene Harden, Anny Franz, and Lucy Hernandez from the BCPS Office of ESOL; Alicia Fales, BCPS Office of Career and Technical Education; Susan Goodhand, Volunteer Coordinator the Exchangeree-Windsor Mill,  Bill Goodhand, Linda Alpin, Volunteer Coordinator the Exchangeree- THE AVENUE, Sandy Bauer, Joan Pugh and Karen Grannas, from The Education Foundation of BCPS and Debbie Phelps, Laura Lemon, Cindy Whitcomb, and Grace Monacelli, BCPS Intern from The Education Foundation of BCPS Staff.

Additional gratitude is made to; Jennifer Drury, Supervisor BCPS Office of Copy and Print; Brian Hiles, Specialist BCPS Graphic Design and Digital Media; Elizabeth Becker, Director, West Daughton, Supervisor, Aaron Brooks, Supervisor, Robert Powers, Sr. Operations Supervisor and Team of the BCPS Department of Facilities Management and Strategic Planning; and Karen Steele, Principal and Building Service Chief and workers of George Washington Carver Center for the Arts and Technology.


As the toolkits are begin distributed to the students throughout the district, we know the importance of maintaining a student’s home language is to the family’s well-being and to the child’s academic development, therefore, the BCPS students who aspire to become teachers in the future will be recording each of the books in multiple languages for the students and their families to listen to.  This service project is being embraces by Educators Rising, a community-based model, in which chapters at schools feed teacher preparation programs at institutes of higher education with the support of the State Deparemtn of Education and local funders and foundations.  We are honored to have the BCPS Educators Rising chapter select this initiative as their service project.  Educators Rising is a clear pathway to increase teacher diversity and teacher quality.

Join us, by visiting our Web site to learn more about The Education Foundation of BCPS, Inc.   It is easy to participate.  If you would like to make a monetary donation you can also do that online.  Information about the RISE (Relief in Securing Education) for a Brighter Future campaign can be found here. 

RISE (Relief in Securing Education) for a Brighter Future campaign sustains equitable access to critical education resources and support for the delivery of onlinlearning by BCPS teachers and for BCPS students’ growth, as aligned with the needs fo the district and as directed by the Superintnednet during these challenging times and beyond.

The Foundation is a 501 C (3) tax exempt, nonprofit organization, under Internal Revenue Service regulations to attract and direct public financial contributions to programs and activities of the school system in support of quality education for all children.

Donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.