San Antonio ISD bus driver gets students excited about reading

Jackie Washington has become face, voice for SAISD's Rolling Readers Program

SAN ANTONIO – KSAT 12 is showcasing people in San Antonio who are doing great things in the black community in honor of Black History Month.

A San Antonio Independent School District bus driver is creating black history in San Antonio by making it her personal mission to get the students who ride her bus excited about reading.

Jackie Washington has become a face and voice for SAISD's Rolling Readers Program, where kids have access to technology on the go.

Washington has been passionate about shaping the program and the kids who ride her bus.

"They like to listen to the audiobooks or play a little game that's on there," Washington said. "We have district-friendly Wi-Fi."

Washington has been a driver with SAISD for 27 years, and her bus is one of seven buses in the district's Rolling Readers Program, which came about through a partnership between the SAISD and BiblioTech.

The program gives students access to Wi-Fi on the way to school and on the way home, as well as access to Kindles.

"Some of them don't have -- they have phones, but some of t​hem don't have hot spots or Wi-Fi," Washington said. "They can get one here, so the homework, or just have a little access to reading, and that's what we mostly want to see them doing, extra reading."

Washington always has her bus decked out. Right now, the theme is Valentine's Day, and next she will decorate it for Black History Month.

"A couple of kids, when they came and got on the bus, we went to one of the schools for a career fair," Washington said. "The kids got on there and they said, 'Oh, this bus is lit!' And he was, like, 'Lit? What does that mean:' He said, 'Happening. Happening.'"

The Rolling Readers Program is getting ready to expand. There are currently seven buses with the program, but soon all of SAISD's 160 buses will have the technology on board.

"It's not just building the reading skills, the foundational skills at school, but they now get to apply that while they're on their way to school, their way back home to their parents and they get to do it in a fun way," said Andrea Pitts, associate principal for Young Women's Leadership Academy.

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