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C. Paul Barnhart Elementary School students go 'buy' the book with new vending machine

Students at C. Paul Barnhart Elementary School are encouraged to visit the vending machine in the main office. It doesn’t take change, there’s no card reader. For that matter, it isn’t stocked with chips or sweets. Instead, the machine’s contents are meant to nourish a child’s mind, not serve up empty calories.

The vending machine housed in the main office is stocked with books for students in prekindergarten through fifth grade at various reading levels — “We like to provide a choice,” Ronnita Cannon, the school’s parent liaison, said. Earning points for displaying character traits and good behavior that are tracked by teachers using a schoolwide Class Dojo system, students receive one token for the machine for every 30 points gathered.

“It’s kind of motivating for students to earn a book and select one that interests them,” Principal Brian King, Ed.D., said. Students can also use their Dojo points to “purchase” items from the school store.

The school bought the vending machine — which can hold between 200 to 300 titles — with proceeds of last year’s Boosterthon, and it was delivered earlier this month, Cannon said.

The school purchases the books for the machine and students get to keep the books they have earned. On a recent morning, Cannon was adding more books thanks to a rush of students who recently turned their Dojo points into I Love Books tokens.

As she finished, three first-grade students arrived in the office to select a book. As each student plunked in a coin, the machine whirled to life, lighting up with a recorded voice calling out, “One book, coming right up,” as the book is released from the spiral holders. 

About CCPS

Charles County Public Schools provides 27,000 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 37 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Kathy Kiessling, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial M. Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.

CCPS provides nondiscriminatory equal access to school facilities in accordance with its Use of Facilities rules to designated youth groups (including, but not limited to, the Boy Scouts).