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Rockwood School District 2019 Niche Best Schools

111 East North Street, Eureka, MO 63025 | Phone (636) 733-2000 | Fax (636) 733-8851

Rockwood Bus Drivers Read to Early Childhood Students

Rockwood bus driver Monaka Zangaro reads to a preschooler at the Eureka Early Childhood Center.


Rockwood School District bus drivers are taking time out of their morning every Tuesday to read to preschool students at the Eureka Early Childhood Center​.

B​eth Dierking, the students' teacher, said she used to have a similar program when she previously taught preschool at Fairway Elementary, where the school's fifth-graders would come and read to the students. Dierking, who is in her first year at the Eureka Early Childhood Center, reached out to the bus drivers who are based at the transportation depot at the school and, before long, she had a half-dozen volunteers.

The drivers have had two sessions with the students, and Dierking anticipates it being a yearlong relationship. 

"It's been a wonderful partnership," Dierking said. "I reminded the students about the first time the bus drivers came and read to us and asked if they liked that, and they all smiled and said, 'Yes!' enthusiastically. They have a great time, and I think it's going to be something they look forward to every week."

Tuesday, Oct. 8, drivers David Cox, Ed Martinez, Jessica Miller, Mike South and Monaka Zangaro read to the students. It was the first time for some, while others got the opportunity to further the connection they had established the week before.​

Dierking said some of her fellow teachers at the center have expressed interest in expanding the reading program to other classrooms.

"They get accustomed to you," South said. "The first week, they were a little more quiet and, this week, a little more outgoing."

"When it becomes routine, they get more excited," Zangaro added. "They look forward to us coming. My little guy likes picking out his books."

Rockwood bus driver Jessica Miller reads to a preschooler at the Eureka Early Childhood Center.Rockwood bus drivers read to preschoolers at the Eureka Early Childhood Center.Rockwood bus driver David Cox reads to a preschooler at the Eureka Early Childhood Center.