Uplift Luna Preparatory’s secondary campus, located in the gritty Deep Ellum district of downtown Dallas, will be three years old this year. It has built out its computer labs, new classrooms to handle expansion, college counseling services, and thanks to some passionate book readers at Insider Marketing in East Dallas, Uplift Luna has now been able to add 305 titles to its growing library.
Part of Uplift Education’s growth plan is to start new schools to serve more scholars around Dallas-Fort Worth, but one of the challenges of starting new schools is building truly useful library collections.
It may seem obvious that students need books, but non-instructional texts are often an expense that new schools can rarely afford. That’s why school directors often turn to outside help.
On Wednesday, July 30, school directors Candice Dagnino and Kristina Nitahara welcomed the group of volunteers who collected, transported, sorted and stacked the additions to the Uplift Luna collection. Insider Marketing, which is run by Ellen and Steve Miller, is a new Uplift Luna partner. They have been encouraging their employees to contribute some of their time to serving in the community.
The Millers are particularly interested in education and appreciated the school’s emphasis on excellence, a value the marketing company shares.
One of the employees who was eager to take up the Millers’ challenge was Michelle Matthews, a copywriter and content developer. She seized on the book drive idea and began to rally her co-workers. As a life-long reader, she wanted to help make the Uplift Luna library more like the libraries she grew up with. Her group spend a month collecting the titles.
“I hope scholars will find something here that they’re interested in, something they hadn’t thought about before. It’s fun to think about a teen picking up one of my books and enjoying it like I did,” she said.
As the team prepared to stock the books, Ms. Dagnino explained to them how important their time was to the school as it works on its International Baccalaureate (IB) certification.
“IB is a rigorous program, and as we go through certification, they really want to know about our science labs and our library. Insider Marketing’s partnership means a lot because it really helps us provide for the scholars and meet our IB requirements,” she said.
The topic of IB struck a chord with Merritt Martin, another copywriter at Insider Marketing. She earned an IB diploma at Garland High School. She remembered how the program introduced her to books that didn’t appear on the classics lists.
“So many of us had already read those books. IB opened our minds to Booker Prize winners and books most of us had never heard of. IB students are generally aggressive learners, and I wanted to make sure these students had access to interesting books that they would read multiple times and then maybe tweet or post about later,” she explained.
The contribution to Uplift Luna is significant, and hopefully, when the new books are discovered by the scholars, they will generate new excitement about reading.
“There’s nothing like holding a book you love. I hope every student finds that here,” Ms. Martin said.