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Oxford Elementary Embraces Willy Wonka's Sweet-Themed World
Apr. 2, 2024 -- Oxford Elementary is adhering to a version of the old adage that the way to a child’s heart is through their stomach … using sweets, naturally. With the entire building reading “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” for One School, One Book (OSOB) this spring, teachers and staff hope students will embrace the idea that “It’s Sweet to be at School.”

The kickoff for OSOB was held in conjunction with both spring conferences and the school’s Literacy Night on Thursday, March 21. Combining events is a tactic Oxford has used before to boost attendance and take the stigma out of conferences, according to Principal Jackie Taylor.

“Feedback was extremely positive when we started this last year,” she said of the effort to combine conferences with fun family activities. “Attendance more than doubled over the previous year.”

With photo walls, candy guessing jars, giant Connect 4, Scrabble tiles, cornhole and a design-your-own-candy station, students got into the sweet-theme of Willy Wonka’s world. Books were handed out to all attendees, with the official launch taking place after Spring Break. Families could also enjoy a pizza dinner and raffle baskets supplied by the PTA.

“We’re hoping that tying One School One Book to attendance initiatives will have a positive impact,” said Title 1 Lead teacher Bridgette Bondarenko. She and Title 1 Support teacher Michelle Manolio designed the activities for Literacy Night, as well as those supporting OSOB.

In the past, Oxford has engaged in most of its One School, One Book activities in the building during the school day. But this year, “we’re really encouraging family time and literacy,” said Principal Taylor, by assigning chapters and activities for families to complete together at home.

Students can earn rewards and treats for participating, as well as tickets for attendance and positive behaviors. When OSOB concludes in May, they’ll have the opportunity to enjoy a viewing of the popular origin-story movie, “Wonka” in the school gym.

“It’s hard to find a book that appeals to students from kindergarten through 5th grade,” said Ms. Taylor. “But this one is fun and timely, especially since they’re all familiar with the movie.” And since they all like sweet treats.