Weatherford Democrat

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April 18, 2012

Curtis receives literary grant

WEATHERFORD — Since she started as the librarian at Curtis Elementary during the summer, Shawna Ford has been doing whatever it takes to revamp the literary resources. From weeding out books and chopping off too-tall shelves, Ford has done her best to turn the library into a modern source of research.

“There were a lot of materials that were outdated, and since the school year started, I’ve probably weeded out about 1,000 books, just because of out of date material or books that were so torn up,” she said. “I just didn’t feel that we had the materials and resources to supplement teachers’ classroom instructions.”

While Ford did what she could with limited resources, a rare opportunity presented itself when she applied for a grant through the Association of Texas Professional Educators. The Beth Ann Rogers Literacy Initiative Grant provides funds to Texas public school libraries to purchase literacy materials and modernize resources.

“I’d never written a grant before but I saw this one and thought it wouldn’t hurt to apply,” Ford said. “So I answered the questions and went through the process and explained our out-of-date collection.”

Two weeks ago, Ford got the call she had been waiting for, announcing that Curtis Elementary was one of five recipients of the $1,000 grant.

Ford, along with principal Racheal Rife, received the grant at Thursday night’s board meeting with a special guest — Doug Rogers, husband of Beth Ann Rogers, a former librarian who passed away due to cancer five years ago.

“It was just a really sweet presentation, and I didn’t realize that [Doug] would be there so that was exciting,” Ford said. “He came up and told me that although they didn’t have a lot of money to give, he hoped what they had would do us good.’”

Ford plans to use the funds primarily to restock the information and non-fiction sections, and she is using teacher input to determine the best material to be ordered.

“We have a lot of older biographies, and we were trying to give a kid one on N’Sync [a 1990s band] but they didn’t even know who they were,” Ford laughed. “I’m talking with teachers to figure out the areas that are weak, and we’re trying to get biographies that can be used for multiple grade levels.”

For more information on events at Curtis, visit the district website at

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