EVART — Providing extra help for students who are struggling is essential for their educational success.

This is why Evart Elementary School principal Sarah Bailey believes mentoring will determine whether or not a child overcomes, not only educational challenges, but others throughout their life.

Bailey spoke to members of the Evart Public Schools Board of Education on Monday, Oct. 10, about a program that soon will be underway that promotes reading by students and the community.

“When you see two children who face simliar challenges in and out of school, and one of them overcomes the challenges and succeeds, but the other child doesn’t, my question is ‘why?’” she said. “Mentoring is why. Those children who succeeded had a mentor in their life.

“Mentoring by an adult who is not a parent, but someone who cares and shows an interest in that child’s success makes a big difference,” Bailey said.

Earlier this school year, Bailey and Superintendent Shirley Howard met with the Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District to see if they could create a reading program that would make difference.

Working with the ISD’s Jenny Rounds, along with a reading grant from the Osceola County Community Foundation, Bailey said their aim is to get books throughout the community.

“We’ll be putting books in places where children go with a parent, a business or some other location in town, where there aren’t things specifically designed for them.”

More than 40 volunteers already have trained to be mentors to work one-on-one with students, as well as 18 guest readers have volunteered to come into classrooms, Bailey said.

Another facet of the program involves setting up little libraries throughout Evart, where books will be kept in cases at locations throughout the community for young and old to borrow books.

“It will allow us to keep books out in the community,” she said.

Industrial arts students at Evart High School will be constructing the weather-proof cases for the little libraries, with the plan for 10 to be located, Rounds said.

Rounds said the launch of the program is set for Nov. 9.

In other action from Monday’s board meeting, members approved the following items:

  • Jason O’Dell’s resignation as the junior high boys track coach;
  • district transportation provided for the wrestling club to away events;
  • early release at 11:30 a.m., on Oct. 20, for an afternoon of professional development for staff;
  • $500 mileage allowance for out-of-district meetings for Kevin Beilfuss and David Lynema when driving their personal vehicles;
  • Nancy Reedy to the position of temporary media center assistant/student para-professional;
  • second readings of policies concerning conflicts of interest; and
  • first reading of policies dealing with grants funds and internal guidelines for handling of grant funds.

The board then went into closed session for contract negotiations with transportation and support staff personnel.

The next EPS Board of Education meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m., on Monday, Nov. 14, at the board room, located at 321 N. Hemlock St., Evart.