Schoharie CSD teacher wins grant to launch book club with focus on equity, tolerance

A Schoharie CSD teacher has received a grant to launch a book club designed to serve high school students, as well as staff and community members, as a way to help boost understanding of others in the community and in the world.

Carrie Styles, who teaches music, was selected to receive an Educator’s Grant from Teaching Tolerance. The program provides resources to educators who encourage young people to be active participants in a diverse democracy.

The $4,312 grant will be used by Styles to launch a book club BELONG, or, Books Empower Learning, Open Minds, New Ideas and Growth.

“We’re going to start with a high school-level group, including community members and staff members, and we’re going to read books with topics of equity and diversity and then have discussions about them and hopefully plant seeds about how we deal with those issues in our school,” Styles said after receiving word of the grant award.

Styles will use the funds to purchase a range of books and supplies for the program, which will meet once a month after school. She said she is hoping to start the club in May and her goal is to not only keep it going for years to come, but also eventually open it up to junior high students.

“I think the more we can open our students’ minds to the struggles of others and try to create ways for them to empathize with people from different backgrounds, the better the learning environment is going to be for everyone,” Styles said.

The program is also intended to improve literacy and love of reading.

Books include “The Namesake,” “All the Stars Denied,” “Under the Mesquite,” and many more.