Building the new East one purple bookbag at a time

Building the new East one purple bookbag at a time

East High School [Photo: Tammy Tuttobene]
August 5, 2015

Amid the whir of construction at East High School, a little extra effort is needed to reach the Main Office. Exit 23 by the cafeteria and two looping turns.

I was there to see East’s Lower School Head Secretary Tammy Tuttobene who is organizing community volunteers to distribute cinch bags containing three books each to eighty 6th grade students at their homes.

Center for Youth new

905 Monroe Ave

As explained to me by Elaine Spaull, The Center for Youth Executive Director, the Center, along with M & T Bank and Brighter Days Foundation, is partnering with East to purchase and deliver the books and bags to welcome the incoming 6th grade class. And, in doing so, increase participation in summer reading and give students a jump start on the 2015-16 academic year.

When I arrived at East, there they were, purple of course, Eagle purple as this year East has changed its nickname. Fortunately — only because there were enough volunteers for the day — I was not needed.

By all measures, the Book Bag Bonanz — as I call it — will be a success, testament to the vision and hard work of East administrators, staff and volunteers.

Ultimately, the Bonanza is just one modest piece of the picture as the new East–now run by the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education–emerges. As the transformation progresses, our community will be asked for support in ways big and small.

I hope — and am pretty sure — there will be plenty of takers. While I missed today’s excursion, I bet bringing purple book cinch bags to eager 6th graders was fun!


About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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