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Partnership Reading program helps connect city leaders to students

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City leaders and middle schoolers are teaming up as reading partners. 

It's happening at Roosevelt Middle School in Cedar Rapids. 

Students are communicating back and forth with city staff as they are all reading the same book, but from different perspectives. 

This is the first time students have partnered with people who work at City Hall. 

The Partnership Reading program was started at Roosevelt by Dr. Diane Schnoebelen-Kramer. 

In Dr. Kramer's language arts class students are using Samsung Chromebooks to communicate with the city leaders. 

"I think that it's interesting and it's different because we don't really ever collaborate with people outside of the school," says 8th grader Joel Dillman. 

They are each reading the book All American Boys and discussing it along the way. 

 "They're asking questions and having really good conversations about race relations, friendship, police brutality I mean there's just a lot of really good themes running through this book," says Dr. Kramer. 

"It's really cool because like you get the kids point of view when you talk to your friends but it's really cool to see the adults point of view," says Maddie Davidson, an 8th Grader. 

Through the program students are able to build relationships with city leaders and city leaders are able to make connections with students.

"My job every day is to make sure that we're building a community that is something where they want to live and work and to be able to talk to each other through a book is a great way to do that," says Sandi Fowler, Cedar Rapids Assistant City Manager. 

Students are enjoying the program as well. 
"When I can talk to them and we can talk about certain parts in the book," says Trisha Freytag.

"It helps our students make a connection, a positive connection with our community and more specifically some of our community leaders," Dr. Kramer told us. 

She was able to buy a class set of Samsung Chromebooks through the Youth Literacy Grant. 

The devices are new this school year. 

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