CLASS at Chisholm Trail Demonstrates Caring for Others

March 8, 2017 ~ There's nothing like owning your own book — keeping it in a special place, writing your name inside the front cover so everyone knows it's yours, re-reading it any time you want. Thanks to a generous book drive by Chisholm Trail Middle School students, hundreds of Olathe district children will be able to have a brand new book of their very own.

The book drive at Chisholm Trail was organized by members of the Cooperative Leadership and Sharing Strategies club (CLASS) and their sponsors, Mallory Pearson, Megan Komp and Jessica Murray. It's the most recent community service project for the students, and ended with outstanding results. A total of 821 new books were donated by Chisholm Trail students.

"We are so pleased with the turnout for the book drive," Pearson said. "We knew there was a program to collect brand new books for students enrolled in various backpack snack programs; students who usually cannot afford brand new items."

Josh Stock, a language arts teacher at Santa Fe Trail Middle School, started the districtwide book drive three years ago with his wife, Washington Elementary fifth-grade teacher Jenica Stock. The first year he collected about 75 books to help students at his school. Last year the Stocks worked to help students at six middle schools, and gathered more than 400 books thanks to donations from teachers across the district, Chisholm Trail, and a Fund-a-Need grant from the Olathe Public Schools Foundation.

This year's goal was to gather 350 books for middle school readers and 850 for elementary students before the end of April.

"Chisholm Trail's donation was amazing!" Josh Stock said. "It was a huge help toward our goal. I couldn't believe it when I first heard how many books they had collected. Chisholm Trail has been a huge part of the program and has helped us meet and exceed our goals every year."

At Chisholm Trail, the CLASS co-sponsors planned a grade level competition to see who could collect the most brand new books. The reward will be a Kona Ice party sometime this spring for seventh-graders because they collected 307 new books.

"CLASS is a new club; it replaced Friends of Rachel," Pearson said. "Each time we got together, the members had so many wonderful ideas on how to help our schools and community. Their enthusiasm for this book drive was particularly great. They helped us think of prizes and hang posters. Each day they collected and counted books."

The 2016-17 school year has been busy for CLASS members. They made 10 fleece blankets for Project Linus that were donated to metro area police departments. The blankets could be given to infants and young children when an emergency situation happens in cold weather. They're also looking ahead to spring and considering either a "closet cleanout" for a clothing drive or an area clean-up somewhere in Olathe.

"These members have a big heart for service and helping others," Pearson said.

Students sort books

Members of Chisholm Trail’s CLASS club counted the donated books. “This donation paired with our Fund-A-Need grant will help us get a head start for next year,” districtwide book drive organizer Josh Stock said. Anyone interested in learning more about the Books for Backpacks Fund-a-Need grant may visit Look for literature / writing / speaking projects in grades K-5.  


Students hold books they collected “Teaching in a Title I school, I noticed that some of my students have never had the opportunity to own their own brand new book,” Santa Fe Trail Middle School language arts teacher Josh Stock said. “When you own a book you look at reading differently. New books have their own unique smell and feel.”
Members of the Cooperative Learning and Sharing Strategies club Cooperative Leadership and Sharing Strategies club (CLASS) members are always looking for ways to help their school and community, said co-sponsor Mallory Pearson.
Students hold blankets they made

Earlier this school year, CLASS members made and donated 10 fleece blankets to Project Linus as a way to help comfort infants and young children in emergency situations.

Submitted photos