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‘One Book, One School’ uniting Newark MS students, staff

For the second year in a row, Newark Middle School students and staff are reading “Posted” by John David Anderson as part of the “One Book, One School” initiative. 

The book takes place in a middle school where cellphones are banned and students use Post-it notes to communicate messages that aren’t all kind. Anderson’s story about bullying, broken friendships, social media and failures of communication between middle schoolers reminds readers that words carry enormous power for good or bad.

“I am very excited that our students are able to participate in the ‘One Book, One School’ initiative again,” Principal Teresa Prinzi said. “By combining the book with digital activities, we are able to have our entire student body participate. This year, we also added incentives for our staff. 

“I think our students will be able to relate to the characters and the events that take place in the story. For the characters, the mean things are written on Post-it notes; for our students, mean things may be shared through social media. The important thing to remember is that words have meaning and are powerful. The book gives a lifelong lesson on the importance of using words to build respect and kindness. It is a great story. I encourage families to read along with their students.”

Sixth grade ELA and social studies teacher Jen Pearson oversees the eight-week initiative.

Staff and students are quizzed weekly on 45 pages of reading. Readers are eligible to win gift cards from area businesses through a drawing. At the end of the initiative, the names of students who took all eight quizzes will be compiled and three will be drawn for a Kindle e-reader. 

“‘Posted’ is an excellent book for middle school, particularly during these digital times,” Pearson said. “The story is captivating and engaging. Students can't wait to find out what happens next. The message in ‘Posted’ is very powerful — words matter. I think this is so important for middle school students to remember. Lots of staff members and their classes are participating. Engagement is higher for this year than last year.”

NMS secretary Mandy Armstrong decorated a hallway display case with a “Posted” theme.

Newark Middle School sixth grader Keylianie Alamo Ubilies reads “Posted,” this year’s selection for the “One Book, One School” initiative.