Weekly roundup: Book vending machine, supporting families through inflation, students get second chances, and more

Buena Park Book Vending Machine
Student Kate Lowrie earned a gold coin to purchase a new book from a vending machine. (Spectrum News 1 photo/Jo Kwon)

Students will not find any snacks in a new vending machine that was installed at a school in the Buena Park School District.

Instead, Pendleton Elementary students will be able to fuel their imagination and boost their literacy with popular books from series such as “Goosebumps,” “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and “Clifford the Big Red Dog.”

As Spectrum News 1 reported, the book vending machine in the school library inspires children to set personal academic goals. When they reach them, they earn a gold coin to spend on a book. They get to keep the books and bring them home.

The news story followed fourth-grader Kate Lowrie who used her first coin after accomplishing her goal of reading a seventh grade level book.

“I like that there are a lot of words,” Kate said. “I felt like I could give myself a challenge.”

Principal Loriann Leota said the program is a perfect way to get students excited about learning and help improve literacy rates as they transition to becoming an International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme school. 

“We want our students to read as much as possible and sometimes families are too busy to make it to the library. This new book vending machine will give students immediate access to books once they reach their academic goals,” Leota said. “Students having access to books and continuing to read is always important because it boosts fluency and makes them more confident readers.” 

Here are some of the other stories we’ve been following this week:

  • Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County is bringing back its summer food service program for all students who are 18 years of age and younger as families continue to be affected by the rising costs of food due to inflation.
VSA Orange County Art Gallery
Student artist Mario Roblero stands by his painting with his family.
  • With a career spanning 25 years in public education, Dana Lynch was announced as the North Orange County Regional Occupational Program’s superintendent. He’ll oversee a program offering accredited career technical education coursework and training to more than 16,000 students.
  • Weight rooms are not known for being glamorous, but there are many life lessons that are taught in those spaces. Edison High School renamed its weight room after two giants in its school history.
  • Facing a lawsuit challenging her concurrent elected positions, Orange County Board of Education Trustee Rebecca “Beckie” Gomez will resign from her position effective July 1. As the OC Register reported, Gomez implored the board to appoint a replacement who would “focus on the business of educating our children and supporting our children.”
  • The Los Angeles Unified School District Independent Analysis Unit is advising education leaders to hire more Black teachers as the system continues to lose about Black educators.
  • A senator from San Jose proposed a bill that would give $1,000 a month to unhoused high school seniors for five months, from April of a student’s senior year until August. The California Department of Education tracked 183,000 students who were homeless last school year.
  • And finally, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved items aimed at improving school safety and regulating gun sales. The board unanimously voted in favor of proposals

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