Saturday, May 26, 2012
"He prayed as he breathed, forming no words and making no specific requests, only holding in his heart, like broken birds in cupped hands, all those people who were in stress or grief."
from A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters---as quoted by Madeleine L'Engle in Two Part Invention
Saturday, May 19, 2012
from Two-Part Invention
by Madeleine L'Engle
These beautiful words I have used many times since I first read them. Tragedies are all around us and we often have no words of our own to share.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Below is the news article from the local paper concerning their decision
The Lee County Board of Education took steps Tuesday to reduce $1.2 million from its budget without eliminating teachers. The action includes not buying textbooks or software, reducing the number of days in employee contracts and not renewing some aide positions.
Lee County Schools Superintendent Dr. Stephen Nowlin said the system of about 1,100 employees would be cutting about 15 or 16 aides and perhaps a nurse.
“We don’t think we will have to eliminate any teaching positions,” Nowlin said.
The superintendent said some special ed aides who don’t have tenure would be replaced with tenured library aides, which means eliminating the library-aide positions.
He said those positions along with a couple of computer-lab positions would save about $450,000.
A letter writing campaign to try to preserve the aide positions was unsuccessful. The aide at my former school has been in the spot for 20 years. Now she will be moved to be a special education aide. All her expertise and experience and skills in the media center not being used.
Below is a copy of the letter I sent. Perhaps parts of it might be useful to some of you if you find yourself in this same position.
I was employed by Lee County Schools from 1994 until my retirement in May 2011 and served as media specialist at Smiths Station Intermediate for most of those years. The Lee County School System was innovative and supportive of our local library programs. Our county wide library program was heads above neighboring systems in Alabama. We were progressive, had district support and a cohesive and collaborative group of media specialists who worked together to provide the very best for the students in Lee County.
It would be a travesty to the library programs of the Lee County Schools and a giant step backwards in providing services to our students for the county to cut the library aide position. It is also a cruel response to the dedication of the current media specialists and aides in the county. Their dedication, hard work, and teamwork have made the programs they provide superior to what can be found in the surrounding counties. It is extremely unlikely that an effective library program can be run without the media aides. Lee County has employed aides in the school libraries I know since 1987.
A media center/library provides many services and learning opportunities to the students and faculty of the school. When staffed with a media specialist who is a certified teacher with a master’s degree in school library media and a paraprofessional library aide the level of service is outstanding. Take a look at the following tasks that the Lee County librarians provide with the assistance of their aides.
· teaches regularly scheduled classes each day
· has open checkout when any student can come check out books or use the computers
· provides research assistance
· provides book selection assistance
· collaborates with teachers assisting with their curriculum needs
· is responsible for collection development and book processing
· serves as a technology overseer and onsite tech repair person
in some schools oversees STI testing, STAR testing, and the computer lab
· administers the Accelerated Reader program
· instructs and documents student instruction in Internet Safety
· prepares monthly usage statistics
· prepares end of year media center and technology reports
· teaches 21 Century skills.
develops a yearly budget for the library based on state funds
· Is responsible for local fund raising
This is not just for one classroom of students but for the entire student body.
Sounds like an overwhelming job, but it is the support and presence of the library aide, there on the front lines too, performing her duties that enable the media specialist to carry out hers. The library aide is the face of the library, the person first seen upon entering and the person manning the circulation desk. They are the line of first defense for help and questions.
In the “Alabama’s School Library Media Handbook for the 21st Century Learner” which was approved by the Alabama State Board of Education on September 11, 2008 there is the following statement--the library media specialist has 40% of their instructional week “reserved for management responsibilities.” Without the presence of a library media aide this state mandate would be impossible to attain.
I ask you to consider carefully the damage that will occur to a presently superior program if these cuts are made.
I realize many systems are letting their media specialist go and using parapros to run their libraries. So far this has not happened here, however, this is still a big deal! Last school year our media center circulated 55,000 items.....running the library single handedly will be a huge huge huge task.
Monday, May 14, 2012
"Our lives are a dance, and our friends and families are our dancing partners, and God is the head of the dance. He calls the tunes, and directs the music, and invites us all to dance. Sometimes He even interrupts our normal dances so that He can dance just with us. Let's all sing it like we were dancing so that God will know that we are ready to dance with Him, whenever He wants."
from Lord of the Dance by Andrew M. Greeley
Saturday, May 5, 2012
Released by Dr. Nancy Everhart (firstname.lastname@example.org)
President, American Association of School Librarians May 19, 2011
Books that are professionally selected to meet school and personal needs.
Equitable access to computers and other forms of technology.
Someone to talk to and someone who listens – the school librarian.
A place to get help when they need it.
A place to assemble with their friends openly.
Learning experiences that are enhanced through teacher/librarian collaboration.
How to evaluate information.
How to create information.
How to share information with others.
How to self-assess their work.
Project-based learning and the critical thinking skills it teaches them.
A place where the school culture is fostered and thrives.
A recommendation for a book that is suited to their interest.
A recommendation on what to read next.
Having stories read to them.
Respect for intellectual property.
A place to practice safe and ethical behaviors.
A librarian who doesn't judge a student because he/she takes out a book they enjoy reading. '
A place to solve problems.
A place to use their imagination.
Special programs and speakers.
Video chats with authors and experts.
Reading contests and prizes.
Instruction in how to use statewide databases.
Resources that align with the curriculum.
Acquiring 21st century skills.
A quiet place to learn.
A safe forum to explore new ideas.
The opportunity to borrow digital cameras, recorders, and laptops.
The ability to experiment with and master new technology.
Materials matched to their learning style.
Accepting learning as a life skill, not just an academic necessity.
The potential for higher standardized test scores.
Citing sources correctly.
Using information ethically.
Creating READ posters.
Creating book trailers.
Preparation for college.
Summer reading lists and programs.
Borrowing materials on interlibrary loan from public and college libraries.
Having resources available for school projects at the public library because the school librarian collaborated with them.
Learning to be a good digital citizen.
Battle of the books.
Time during homeroom, during lunch, during the school day, and after school to work on projects when they have no other access to computers.
A place to visit that is open, friendly, attractive, and a safe haven.
Additional resources for their classrooms.
In-depth exploration of a topic.
A knowledgeable, interested adult with whom to discuss books.
A library website that offers access 24–7 to an online catalog, selected electronic resources, databases, and curriculum-related websites.
Synthesizing information from diverse perspectives.
Writing a thesis statement or a critical question.
Reflecting on the information-seeking process.
Responding to literature.
Using social media websites and tools (i.e., blogs, wikis, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) safely and responsibly.
Assistance and guidance in completing homework assignments
Recommending books to their friends.
Help with history fair, science fair projects.
A place to "shop" for free.
A place to practice decision-making skills.
The library, like the cafeteria and the gym, are places where all students (crossing grade levels and ability levels) mingle with one another.
Opportunities for meaningful student leadership
A program that always differentiates to teach, support, and enrich.
Aconduit for information to increase efficiency in the entire building.
Teachers who have had exposure to instructional support and collaboration.
Access to subscription databases, including time-saving instruction on which databases are appropriate for particular projects;
Technology expertise and instruction on software and web applications for writing, collaboration and presentation.
A connection between the outside world and the classroom.
The ability to construct and defend arguments.
Resources that will broaden their global perspective
A smile of genuine pleasure for coming through the door.
Going beyond academic requirements.
Organizing personal knowledge.
Responding to literature.
Adapting to new situations.
Developing personal productivity.
A place to display their work both physically and virtually.
A place where the digital divide doesn’t exist.
A place to use their imaginations.
Learning the implications of a digital footprint.
Making recommendations for books that are followed.
Teachers who extend learning experiences beyond the classroom.
How to search efficiently and effectively.
Respect for copyright and intellectual property.
Helping other students.
A place to study without grades.
Taken from: Standards for the 21st Century Learner by the American Association of School Librarians, suggestions from members of the American Association of School Librarians, and students in the school libraries of the United States.