The Riverside County Office of Education Wednesday unveiled its new Migrant Education Bookmobile, which will soon be bringing library services to migrant families in Perris and most rural areas of Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
The 34-foot, $220,000 bookmobile, paid for by federal grant money to benefit migrant students and their families, was unveiled during a ceremony held in front of the RCOE Indio office.
“We cover an area of approximately 29,000 square miles,” said Maria DeHaro, RCOE’s Migrant Education Director. “We will be taking the Bookmobile to areas where migrant families are clustered and where there is a lack of library services.”
The Bookmobile will serve the Perris, Coachella Valley, Palo Verde, Palm Springs and Desert Sands school districts, as well as some rural areas in San Bernardino County.
Teachers from the federally funded Migrant Education Program meet with students and families at their homes or “anywhere there is access to teach children literacy skills, vocabulary, and basic math,” DeHaro said. There are more than 3,900 students served by the Migrant Education program.
The Bookmobile will allow teachers to not only providing reading materials and internet access to students and their families; it will also give teachers a chance to test literacy skills using onboard computers.
The Bookmobile contains 40 book cases and will carry up to 2,000 books. It is equipped with internet access and WiFi for wireless devices, as well as three air conditioning units.
The regional Migrant Education program serves students after school, Saturdays and during the summer. Students may be enrolled in local school districts but many move with their families to follow work.
The Bookmobile will be especially useful in areas where access to local libraries is limited because of distance or where summer school programs have been lost to budget cuts. The Bookmobile will make its first stop on Friday in Blythe.
~Courtesy of Rick Peoples/Riverside County Office of Education