Lowndes County “Get Lit” Bus prepares for takeoff

Published 2:06 pm Friday, December 15, 2023

A new tool for Lowndes County students was announced at the December meeting of the Lowndes County Children’s Policy Council, The “Get Lit” With Literacy Bus, which should begin making it’s rounds through the county next month.

According to Lowndes County Superintendent Samita Jeter, the bus will travel throughout the county on Saturdays, encouraging students to take advantage of extra opportunities to read books in hopes of sparking an interest of literacy in the county’s youth.

“Librarians or media specialists along with a bus driver will take the bus out into different communities, and we’re looking at probably two per Saturday,” Jeter said. “We’ve asked the librarians to have some ideas and activities in mind for the children to do once they get on, and do something to encourage them to read and give them something to spark their interest to pick a book to read.”

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The “Get Lit” bus will feature comfy seating, wireless internet, laptops, physical books, and a welcoming environment for local students who choose to take advantage of the county’s newest resource. Jeter said that when individuals encounter the “Get Lit” bus, there won’t be any mistaking it.

“We’ve had the bus totally renovated on the inside, painted on the outside, and we had Mr. Buddy Purvis do some artwork on the outside,” Jeter said. “We wanted it to be big, bright, and something to catch their attention aside from just a regular yellow school bus going down the street.”

Funding for the bus was received thanks to a grant from the Department of Early Childhood Education in partnership with the Lowndes County Children’s Policy Council. District Judge Adrian Johnson said the main goal of the new attraction is to increase student literacy and engagement with reading following the recent passing of a new education law.

“We received a $20,000 grant from the Department of Early Childhood Education last year to our Childrens Policy Council through our nonprofit, Lowndes County Partnership for Children,” Johnson said. “We began talking with Mr. Burroughs who was the superintendent at the time about what we were going to do as a part of our Campaign for Grade Level Reading. The third grade reading law passed a few years ago and was going into effect, and the governor’s office put a big emphasis on making sure our children were reading on grade level by the time they were in third grade.”

Johnson gave credit to another Alabama county that completed a similar project, stating that the idea for the “Get Lit” bus is a way for Lowndes County Schools to reach their academic goals without re-inventing the wheel.

“Macon county did something similar,” Johnson said. “They did a literacy bus, so we looked at what they had done and decided we could probably use our funds to do a literacy bus for Lowndes County.”

In addition to reading books and participating in educational activities, students who enter the bus will also have the opportunity to complete Accelerated Reader tests on the bus. Jeter stressed that the “Get Lit” bus is for students of all ages, however, and there will be material available for any Lowndes County Student who wants to hop on.

“We have books for all ages,” Jeter emphasized. “We didn’t want to cutesy it up so much that the highschool students didnt want to get on there, and we know that they’re going to need some ACT prep stuff, so we have books on the bus for all grade levels.”

While some interior renovations are still underway, The “Get Lit” With Literacy Bus is anticipated to make its first departure sometime in January.