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Inside the Classroom

ABB employees, Rumbaugh students have reading relationship

Stephen Huba
| Wednesday, May 16, 2018, 4:09 p.m.
An ABB employee reads to students at Rumbaugh Elementary School in Mt. Pleasant on Wednesday as part of the 'Companies in the Classroom' program.
Submitted
An ABB employee reads to students at Rumbaugh Elementary School in Mt. Pleasant on Wednesday as part of the 'Companies in the Classroom' program.
Rumbaugh Elementary School was built to replace Fairview Elementary School, a two-room school destroyed by fire in 1958. Rumbaugh, which opened in 1959, serves more than 150 students in kindergarten and first grade.
Karl Polacek | Trib Total Media
Rumbaugh Elementary School was built to replace Fairview Elementary School, a two-room school destroyed by fire in 1958. Rumbaugh, which opened in 1959, serves more than 150 students in kindergarten and first grade.

A pilot project that matches employees with elementary school students has distributed 960 books in the last three months.

The last of those were distributed on Wednesday at Rumbaugh Elementary School in the Mt. Pleasant Area School District.

Employees from nearby ABB High Voltage Products have been visiting the school since February as part of the “Companies in the Classroom” project.

The project, sponsored by the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, debuted last year in the school's kindergarten classes. It expanded into the first-grade classes this year.

“This project is all about getting high quality early reading materials into the hands of students,” said Jesse Sprajcar, United Way education program manager. “The more reading opportunities kids have, the more likely they are to succeed academically, and later, professionally.”

Eleven ABB volunteers began visiting classes biweekly in February to read to students, give out free books and talk to students about their jobs. They logged 90 volunteer hours and distributed 960 books.

On Wednesday, employees read “A Big Guy Took My Ball!” by Mo Willems to kindergartners and “Diary of a Worm” by Doreen Cronin to first-graders. They led classroom discussions and helped students complete a craft project. Before leaving, they gave each student a copy of the day's book and donated one to each classroom's library.

ABB also donated $2,500 in school supplies to Rumbaugh Elementary, including highlighters, crayons, tissues, glue and cleaning supplies.

“Companies in the Classroom” is coordinated by the United Way, which supplies all books and craft materials, provides volunteer training, clearances and scheduling, and provides on-site support to volunteers and teachers at each session.

Spokeswoman Jackie Johns said the United Way hopes to expand the program to other school districts next year.

Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-1280, shuba@tribweb.com or via Twitter @shuba_trib.

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