Meet Rene Bridgewater from Maysville Elementary in Maysville, Georgia
by Matthew
February 28, 2022

Meet Rene Bridgewater, an 18-year veteran Media Specialist at Maysville Elementary.

She’ll be our host when we swing through Georgia in late February 2023. Rene kindly told us a bit about herself and Eagles of Maysville.

WHAT GETS YOU OUT OF BED IN THE MORNING?
My students are the reason I do what I do. They are our future and deserve to have as many adults as possible pour their love, time, and energy into helping them realize their dreams.

WHAT IS YOUR SCHOOL’S GREATEST CHALLENGE?
Meeting the needs of our students and their families beyond the walls of our building. Our students can be very transient, which creates gaps in learning and special services when they move to another school.

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR TOP PRIORITIES IF YOUR SCHOOL HAD MORE FUNDING?
There are too many to name them all, but my first choice would current, high-interest books for students to have in their homes. They frequently borrow books, but there is nothing like owning your very own. I would also like to see every family have access to affordable internet in their homes, and it would be beneficial to provide more outreach programs providing tips on supporting learning at home, internet safety, and digital citizenship to keep children safe.

WHAT DO YOU WISH PEOPLE BETTER UNDERSTDOOD ABOUT TITLE I SCHOOLS?
Many think the Federal Title I funding we receive means we have everything we need. While the funding is greatly appreciated, utilized in highly effective ways, and does help us address some of the socio-economic inequities that exist in our buildings, it cannot compensate for the basic needs some of our students have. It cannot combat the worries and empty stomachs our students carry with them each day. Regardless of one’s feelings or opinions regarding today’s society, the children who walk through our doors each day are not to blame for choices adults make. They do, however, have to deal with the consequences, and it is our responsibility to help those children overcome and rise above those consequences.

WHAT ABOUT YOUR SCHOOL MAKES YOU PROUDEST?
Our students walk in the door each day looking forward to the day ahead; it’s rare to hear a student say, “I don’t like school.” They’re constantly setting new goals. The Staff works tremendously hard and pours so much love into our students and their families. We too walk in the door with a smile knowing something good will happen that day.

WHAT IS SOMETHING FUN ABOUT YOUR SCHOOL?
We call ourselves “Amazing Maysville,” because despite being one a Title I school with one of the largest socio-economic hardships in our district, we often rank at or near the top for student growth when testing is done. Our staff and students work hard to meet their goals. They are all pretty Amazing.

We cannot wait for the Bus Tour to sail through Amazing Maysville, so we can meet and speak with Rene, her colleagues, and her students!

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Recently:

The Busload of Books Tour is a year-long project to promote literacy and raise awareness of the challenges facing our nation’s public schools.

Author/illustrator duo Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr (that’s us) and our four kids will spend the 2022-2023 school year traveling the country in a school bus/tiny home, visiting Title I schools in all 50 states (plus DC), and giving away 25,000 hardcover books to students and teachers from underserved communities.

As we travel, we will be blogging, vlogging and posting frequently to social media. All of our content will be appropriate for bringing families and students along on our ultimate road trip.

The latest on Instagram:

The Daily Minute: 12.9.22
In which, having just arrived in Texas, we plan to spend the night in Jasper County.

#busloadofbooks
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Robbi got this text from Erica Bridwell (known to friends and colleagues as “B”), the first-grade teacher who hosted Jasper during Tuesday’s visit to North Pike Elementary School in Summit, Mississippi. We signed a copy of Everywhere, Wonder for B, and Robbi had written in the dedication to “keep fighting the good fight.”
 
It’s a difficult time to be a teacher, especially at a school with limited resources and especially when serving kids who bring additional challenges to school. Educators need a boost every bit as much as their students do.
 
We’re sharing this to show that the tour is also for them, and maybe even more so. 
 
“We miss y’all! It felt like a part of us left when y’all did. Y’all have NO IDEA the impact you’re making not only on kids, but adults too! I haven’t had the easiest school year so far. I have felt defeated, frustrated, and overwhelmed. My connection with my students has felt faint and really nonexistent… I’ve struggled to find ways to motivate them, encourage them more… then y’all come along and somehow it has put fire back into me. Your words have made me reflect since I read them… “keep fighting the good fight…” it was powerful. I had that “full moon feeling” that feeling of how much I love what I do. I thought of what it means to me and what those kids mean to me. I remembered why God chose me to do this. Your kind words lifted me up. So thank you. Thank y’all. What y’all are doing is amazing! Safe travels! I’ll be following!”
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The Daily Minute: 12.8.22
In which we bask in the sweet Louisiana night and brace ourselves for the enormity of Texas.

#busloadofbooks
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Whoever you are, take your seat on the bus!

Our adventure is your adventure. Our country is your country, too. Follow along with us!