Inspired by the new hit sitcom “Abbott Elementary,” ABC has announced a partnership with Scholastic to become the first entertainment brand to provide underfunded schools with free book fairs.
According to Variety, the book fairs will give each student two free books and each teacher will receive 10 books. The book fairs will take place at seven Title 1 schools in Chicago, Ill.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Los Angeles, Calif.; Flint, Mich. and Erie, Penn., where “Abbott Elementary” is based on.
Additionally, ABC also announced it would be relaunching its Traveling Teacher’s Lounge initiative, which will provide teachers with books from Scholastic, classroom supplies, breakfast and “Abbott Elementary” merchandise. The first round of the lounge donated more than 1,000 books, 10,000 notebooks, 100,000 writing utensils and 15,000 art and craft materials to schools across the country.
According to the World Literacy Foundation, there are 7.9 million low-income children beneath the age of 8 in the U.S. If current trends hold, 6.6 million of these children are at risk of dropping out of high school because they can’t read proficiently by fourth grade. Organizations and nonprofits, and now media companies like ABC, are stepping up to help students in need.
“Abbott Elementary” centers on a group of elementary schoolteachers, each with their own unique quirks, trying to give the best education they can to inner-city students. The hilarious mockumentary has been praised for providing a unique perspective into the life of teachers, from the unpredictable questions from students to the troubles of working with difficult administrations. The creator and star Quinta Brunson said that her mother’s career as a teacher inspired her to create the show.
“Despite it getting harder, despite teachers not having all the support they need, despite kids growing even more unruly than they’ve been in recent time … [my mom] still loved the job,” Brunson told NPR. “The beauty is someone being so resilient for a job that is so underpaid and so underappreciated because it makes them feel fulfilled.”
Even though the show is still in its first season, the team wanted to make sure their show made a difference in the lives of real schoolteachers. In addition to ABC’s partnership with Scholastic, the marketing team reallocated some funds to be directed to schools in need.
“We chose to put the marketing money toward supplies for teachers,” Brunson said. “It’s about being able to make those kinds of decisions that really excite me, things that can really materially help people.”