One School, Many Books on its way

From Issue 1

Summer Reading; a perceived necessity of schools everywhere and a regarded bane of students all over. All professional educators know that summer vacation is the peak time for the mind to become mentally disengaged and focused on nothing but tanning on the beach or binge watching the latest Netflix drama series. But only Jackson Prep utilizes a creative system known as One School Many books (OSMB). 

The OSMB program was a program crafted years ago with 2 major purposes to firstly, expose students to a wide variety of genres in their summer reading and a greater sense of choice in their summer reading duties. Secondly, to connect students with faculty members and expose students to their literary interests in ways more often than not surprising and quite perplexing. (Personally I was quite shocked to find out in my OSMB group last year that the Head of School, Mr. Lawrence Coco III, was so adept and engrossed in sci-fi (science fiction) books, such as the one we were discussing, Dune.)

As I interviewed theater ,debate, film, and English teacher Mr.Richard Younce, who is the person charged with organizing the OSMB program from year to year, he expounded that while the OSMB program has changed some over the years. Now nearly all of Jackson Prep’s 85 faculty members choose a book for OSMB with a 10-student limit per chosen book, with the previous year’s collection boasting an astounding 79 different books for students to choose from. This included the legal thrillers by Mississippi’s own John Grisham, the incredible historic biopic Sam Houston and the Alamo avengers, as well as the fantasy classic Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, among many others.This demonstrates how OSMB has most certainly accomplished its purpose of giving a wide and expansive choice for students.

On August 31 all Prep students will report to their assigned rooms to begin the last part of the OSMB process, the discussion. In practice OSMB acts as a book talk between the small group of students and the faculty member associated with the book . Students and adults discuss different aspects of the books: plot, message, favorite scenes, etc in a setting slightly different from an English class where the purpose of reading is almost always analytical as opposed to being for the students’ individual pleasure. While in no way should a student feel under stress about being able to recount every scene in their book, OSMB is a English grade based on the individual faculty member’s discernment of whether a student reaches a certain benchmark of  knowledge about their chosen book, mainly a “did you read the book” benchmark, not “do you know the 5 different motifs exhibited” or “what commentary on society does the author present” benchmark. 

OSMB is meant to be a relaxing and fun mini book club moment for faculty and students and should be viewed as such.