Impact Stories

  • Ali Krick

Making a Difference, One Book at a Time

What is the best kept secret at Stanley? It is the highly anticipated book chosen for Stanley’s One Book One School (OBOS) program, which typically begins after Winter Break. As winter settles in, the Stanley community, both students and staff, will come together to read one book and build valuable connections that will last through the school year and beyond.

What Is One Book One School?

One Book One School was originally founded at Stanley by recently retired Stanley Librarian Barbara Stevens. Fifteen years later, OBOS continues to thrive and is best described as a highly anticipated multi-week program during which the entire Stanley community reads the same book. Students are broken up into small cross-level grade groups hosted and led by a faculty member. During their designated OBOS time, groups of students read chapters together and are given the opportunity to have meaningful discussions about literature and how it applies to their own personal lives and the Stanley community. Stanley’s new Librarian Amy Bouris, who helped pick out this year’s book, shared, “I am thrilled to join the Stanley community this year and look forward to OBOS, as it is a wonderful opportunity to bring people together around a great work of literature.” The program culminates with a special guest speaker who ties into the theme of the book.

How is the OBOS book chosen each year?

After gathering input and suggestions from both staff and students, the book is selected in the summer by the Stanley Librarian, Principal Betsy Balmat, and Stanley’s History, Leadership, and RAPP Teacher, Victoria Shegoian. Amy shared, “The OBOS book this year ties beautifully into our theme, Be the Difference.” This is one of three OBOS themes that students will experience during their time at Stanley. The other two themes include What You Do Matters and Everyone Belongs. “We really felt that this year's OBOS book was a standout, and we think that everyone will agree!” Amy shared. And without revealing too much, she added, “There are people in the book who serve as a model for how we have the power to be the difference in our own community and beyond.”

What impact does OBOS have on the Stanley community?

OBOS creates a shared experience of reading and discussing the same book among staff, students, and the entire Stanley community. Principal Balmat shared, “Our goal is to read and discuss a wonderful book in a relaxed environment. We are not “teaching” the book but rather engaging students in a conversation around the book’s content and theme. Allowing students and staff the time in the day to just read and talk, helps us all see each other as readers but most importantly, allows us to get to know people in ways we may not in a more structured class setting.” OBOS gives the Stanley community a common experience that will always be shared and can be built upon.

How does LPIE support OBOS?

LPIE is a proud to support the OBOS program by funding the special guest speaker. “The culminating event is really how we tie the book together with our theme,” shared Principal Balmat. The speaker can be the author or another special guest who ties directly to the theme. Principal Balmat included, “The year we were reading Full Cicada Moon, our theme of What You do Matters, pulled us to have a speaker from the television show, Kindness Diaries. Leon Logothetis recorded his journey traveling around the world and surviving through the kind act of others. His message was perfect for our students to hear and helped us all recognize the good that comes from Kindness.”

Parents can visit Stanley’s PTA website and still purchase an OBOS book for their students if they have not already. Every year, it is a great surprise what the book will be and who will speak to the Stanley community. While hints are given to students before the big book reveal, it’s no secret that staff and students at Stanley are making a difference and building community, one book at a time.