One of the leading government schools in the country, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Pattom, Thiruvananthapuram, propagates reading and thus their mantra Drop Everything and Read (DEAR). Read the complete article below to know more.
Every school has a library. Typically, books, magazines, journals and newspapers fill its shelves, but at Kendriya Vidyalaya, Pattom, the library fills the school’s very spirit. The conventional ‘Silence’ signboard has long since been removed. The library fosters curiosity, creativity and independent thought; but most of all, the library at KV Pattom is fun.
A series of ‘firsts’
“We have a famous library and a talented librarian,” beams Principal S Ayaja Kumar. The iconic library’s journey began in September 2007. The school launched a library blog—the first of its kind in the country in an initiative undertaken by school librarian, S L Faisal. Not long after, technology and education became irrevocably entwined at Thiruvananthapuram’s most sought-after school. The contemporary union of technology and education embraces dynamic learning in the age of the Internet.
In a series of ‘firsts’, the school went on to create an online portal for homework and curriculum-related information in 2009. Teachers upload assignments which the students can view, download and complete. The initiative bagged the Best Integration of Technology and Education Award in 2009 and set a benchmark for other schools.
KV Pattom has always been in sync with the constantly evolving digital landscape. When the social media sensation took over the world, the school created its very own online academic network in 2010. The exclusive site, Library Junction, acts just like Facebook. Students get to engage with the school community in a safe digital space. It won the KVS National Innovation and Experimentation Award.
“We promote technology-based education. Classrooms and the library are well-equipped. An Adult Tinkering Lab has just been launched in our school. Children can make great innovations in science and technology here. Ours is a model lab for other schools,” says the Principal. Innovations are not a novelty at the school, which received an Innovation in Experimentation Award by NCERT for Library Junction.
‘Face a Book’ Challenge
In the age of Facebook, KV Pattom boldly introduced the ‘Face a Book’ Challenge. 50 students take part in the summer reading programme each year. After reading an assigned book, they are required to create a ‘My Little Book’ with a review and an in-depth analysis of the book. They also have to write the bio of the author amongst other things. In a bid to promote reading and inculcate information literacy skills in students, the challenge also brings out the best in them. Students get wildly creative, conjuring up some beautiful works of art at the end of summer. In another leg of the challenge, students make a video talking about the book, and later share a presentation with the entire school.
Founded in 1964, the school follows a CBSE curriculum. It runs in two shifts, due to the rising demand for education at what has become Kerala’s capital city’s favourite school. Located in the heart of the city, it has nearly 670 senior secondary students alone, with 350 and 320 students in class 11th and 12th respectively.
Every year, the students and teachers take up at least 2-3 charitable activities. Since 2013, the ‘Gift a Book, Get a Friend’ initiative invites students of KV Pattom to donate books and stationery to those from more underprivileged schools. In an effort to motivate reading habits among all sections of society, a different school is selected for the outreach programme each year. Students and teachers, along with the principal, visit the other school for a day of cultural programmes, fun and friendship.
Drop Everything and Read
When the gong sounds for the Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) drive, the entire school -- students, teachers and even support staff— stop all work, pick up a book and simply read for half an hour. Reading is something which has become a way of life at KV Pattom. A ‘Little Open Library’ by the school’s main courtyard invites students to leave a book and take a book in return.
The school is full of innovation when it comes to even daily mundane practices. Each day, a ‘password’ is introduced at the school assembly. This technological spin on what is essentially the ‘word of the day’ has given a new life into the practice. Throughout the day, the password is used for reasons such as permissions from teachers for various purposes or to enter the classroom, among other things. “These are the small things we do to keep school practices attractive and relevant for kids,” informs Principal Ayaja Kumar. For an illustrious career in education spanning 25 years, Ayaja Kumar was bestowed the National Incentive Award 2017 by Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan.
Sports too at centre stage
Reading is not the only thing which is given importance, sports too are big at the KV. Every year, 2-3 students participate in SGFI (School Games Federation of India) tournaments. A few years back, seven students represented the school. “Our students have won many regional and national level prizes,” says Ayaja Kumar. Recently, Nehreen Riza of Class 10 was selected into the Indian U-15 Badminton Team.