Pat Neff teachers creating 'literary lockers' for upcoming school year

These unique locker designs are expected to inspire students to read more.

SAN ANTONIO - While most teachers are enjoying summer vacation, one group in the Northside Independent School District is hard at work.

Teachers at Pat M. Neff Middle School are adding some color to the hallways, thanks to generous donations from the community.

KENS 5 was there to watch the "literary lockers" come to life.

"We have people who are not even part of the [English Language Arts] department. We have the choir teacher here, the theatre arts teacher is here," said Jessica Sweeney, a 6th grade ELA teacher at Pat Neff, who also oversees the campus beautification project.

Sweeney and her fellow teachers are on a mission.

"We want to do something good for our kids so they have something to look forward to when they walk through here," said Yvonne Correa, principal of Pat Neff Middle School. "We're always trying to do things to keep our kids engaged, motivated and excited about being here."

Starting Monday, the group of teachers began their summer project of turning the blue lockers into "literary lockers," where they paint each locker to look like a book spine.

"The book spines are going to start off with some of the books we read in 6th grade ELA, in 7th grade and 8th grade, too," said Sweeney.

The teachers are starting with one hallway, and hope to expand.

"Even though this is a mainly 6th grade hallway, all grades walk through here," said Sweeney. "So when they see those book spines, our hope is that it kind of reminds them, 'Oh hey! I've read that book!' Or, 'Hey, we're reading this book now! We're reading this book next'."

Teachers said the school is getting some much-needed TLC. Pat Neff is the oldest middle school in NISD at 56 years old.

Eventually, students could have the opportunity to add their favorite books to the hallways.

"Even if they're having a bad morning, they see the lockers and they smile. Maybe it's a fun book they read or just the color alone. Or the thought of the teachers who painted them are the ones who care about them," said Vanessa Garretson, a 7th grade ELA teacher at Pat Neff, who helped start their campaign.

It's essentially a literary makeover.

Soon, the hallway at Pat Neff will be filled with the best books of our time.

Teachers hope the building won't feel like a school at all, but instead like a second home.

The campaign to fundraise for the project was initiated by teachers.

As a part of a school bond, the gym floors at Pat Neff are also being replaced over the summer.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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