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Springfield Township High School Library Annual Report—June 2010 Highlights of 2009/2010 • Learners produce and their creative work is recognized internationally • Launch of interactive Virtual Library (nominated as an Edublogs Best Educational Wiki) • Continuation of integration of Web 2.0 tools and digital storytelling into curriculum • Library becomes hub of research, production, and presentation: a learning commons • Addition of integrated search widgets, ebooks, and media to Virtual Library

Celebrate our library!

• Introduction of a variety of new research tools and learning strategies • Three art gallery openings and two OneBook,OneSpringfield programs • Selected as one of Tech & Learning Magazine’s 100@30 and FindingDulcinea’s Educators that Rock, and library featured in GameClassroom. • Launch of Virtual Springfield community history project • 2009 Edublog Award for Best Librarian/Library Blog This year our library’s online landscape shifted and we explored a variety of new options for communicating the results of student research. We explored the advantages of cloud computing. Headsets and cameras were in continual use as our students created and produced. Learners collaborated and produced video and told digital stories in multiple formats to communicate their new knowledge. Most importantly, our students’ work reached new and global audiences. Our work with learners was noticed. Students offered to help me create and performed in a keynote for the international K12Online Conference. Their multimedia musical contribution, written in GoogleDocs largely by Marlene Thornton’s Theatre I class, with technical help from Dan Meder’s independent study students, reflected on their learning about research and communication. The production continues to be seen by educators all over the world and is assigned viewing for some preservice classes.

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Our new library website, our instructional units, and our students’ work, were noted several times in a report from the American Library Association to the Department of Education. Outside visitors to our library continue to note its energy and its joy. Among our many visitors this year was the staff of the new search portal Finding Dulcinea, who featured our library in two blog posts. Attempting to capture the library’s atmosphere, they wrote about our studentcentered space:

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This report is meant to be viewed online. Please visit our Virtual Library (http:// springfieldlibrary.wikispaces .com) for the link.

Through the glass doors of the Springfield Township High School Library, you can see a life-size cutout of Robert Pattinson, the lead actor in “Twilight,” standing on some shelves. Pattinson’s defiant presence, front and center, signals who runs this library: the students. . . . Toward the end of my visit, I run into the school principal, Mr. Hackney, who tells me about his first trip to the library. He remembers walking in and hearing lots of chatter and noise, so he started “shushing” people. “Everyone started looking at me funny,” he said. “Now I understand. It’s a working library.” During a single block, in our library/learning commons, you will see our students working in groups or independently, as they: write traditional research papers, tell digital stories, explore new search tools, search scholarly journal databases, read ebooks, document sources with online citation generators, present the results of their research, describe their newly installed art work, post in curricular blogs, participate with experts in online teleconferences, produce media, and collaborate using such online applications as wikis and Google documents.


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Curricular Highlights I work closely with nearly all of our students and faculty integrating both the AASL and ISTE standards for learners--introducing Springfield students to a wide array of search tools, databases and resources; coaching students through the research process; and introducing a growing number of options for collaborating and ethically communicating knowledge constructed through research. ISTE NETS for Students •Creativity and Innovation •Communication and Collaboration •Research and Information Fluency •Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making •Digital Citizenship •Technology Operations and Concepts

AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner •Inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge. •Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge. •Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society. Pursue personal and aesthetic growth.

Perhaps our student-produced Wizard of Apps video is an apt way to describe some of the standards-driven learning activities that took place in our library this year. For instance, Dorothy’s song about digital citizenship describes our focus on: attribution and documentation. Citation generators like NoodleTools are part of daily student life. Students regularly exploit Creative Commons options for incorporating copyright-friendly media in their own work and are developing understandings of the Code of Best Practices for Fair Use in Media Literacy Education for using copyrighted works in ways that add value. New people search tools, introduced to our junior class when they begin the college search process, help build awareness of our learners’ digital footprints. Discussion relating to information ethics are woven through daily library instruction. The Scarecrow’s song about research describes our focus on evaluation of sources and introduction of new search tools and search strategies. This year we introduced a variety of new search tool options. My December experience at the Google Teacher Academy, inspired the creation of a Google search poster that busts out many of Google’s more hidden treasures. Students now regularly use tools like Google Squared for comparisons, Google’s NewsTimeline for contemporary history research, and Google’s WonderWheel (visible after search) for brainstorming and building vocabulary. I created a variety of new pathfinder and database pages highlighting our subscription databases and organized them by subject. Our newsier pathfinders were moved to Pageflakes to incorporate feeds and widgets, A new Google Custom search searches the major document portals on our Primary Source Pathfinder. We are sharing databases in new ways. For instance, in addition to the widgets shared all over our Virtual Library, I now encourage our students to install new database apps at home on their own social networking sites and their mobile devices. The Lion’s song described new strategies for communication. Among the new communication tools we introduced into instruction this school year was back channeling. WallWisher was one back channel strategy used for a coded content analysis of situation comedies as primary sources in US History 2. It was also used successfully for discussing the connections between The Odyssey and Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? in Miss Settino’s 10th grade ILA class. The Tinman’s song about audience and creativity described many of our efforts in encouraging students to communicate with authentic audiences. VoiceThread, Animoto, Glogster, Xtranormal, and GoAnimate are but a few of the tools that grew viral this year for telling stories and presenting research.


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It would be a real challenge to count the number of student videos and digital stories produced during this school year. For instance, our 8th grade controversial issues project migrated completely from PowerPoint to Voicethread. Though not paperbased, these digital projects require the development of very traditional skills--careful research, analysis, synthesis, writing and scripting, and effective communication strategies. Unlike traditional papers, these products are made to be shared and require learners to consider they are writing for real audiences. In most cases we archived and shared the artifacts of student work and gathered them on the Virtual Library. A few instructional highlights: Success stories integrating new technologies in curriculum included our special ed classes. Stan Fudala and Tom Mullaney’s students were very engaged in digital storytelling and proud of their professional creations. Jeff MacFarland’s US History 2 Great Depression project asked learners to remix the photographs and oral histories of the Library of Congress American Memory Collection in order to create digital stories and compose found poetry relating to the Great Depression. (In this video,Jeff and I introduce the lesson which involved a great deal of critical analysis and creativity.) The lesson inspired production of our musical video theme song for the Library of Congress. The unit culminated each semester with live museum exhibits all over our library. Len Arlen’s World History I classes migrated their traditional scrapbook project into online, interactive museums allowing learners to develop fluency with our history databases and to use their technology skills to create media, and to share their products more broadly, while continuing to address the course’s essential questions. Kevin Martin’s German students added geographic awareness, media, and interactivity to their traditional travel project using MapVivo. On November 13, Eve Wilderman’s Global Studies students participated in a live teleconference with Afghan woman’s rights activist, Suraya Pakzad. Acting as doctors, Patty O’Neill’s health classes created animated posters reporting to the CDC about their selected epidemics. Several other teachers, including Eve Wilderman, Len Arlen, and Al Eickhoff also chose to move their poster projects to Glogster to make them linkable, media-rich, interactive, and sharable. At various stages in their research, learners made use of cloud computing options. Very often student work was stored in wikis and Google sites. Wikis have become as ubiquitous as pens or pencils For instance, Marlene Thornton’s gifted ILA class moved their radio mystery scripts to Google Docs for easy access and collaboration. We have never seen students so eager to write! The final script is a synthesis of several highly collaborative mini-docs. Students are now producing their powerful script using VoiceThread and copyright-friendly sound effects and music. A growing number of students, most notably those in Senior Seminar, used Google Forms to construct and analyze survey instruments as they conducted original research. Senior Seminar research this year continued to be transparent and interactive as student researchers shared all of their progress in wikis. Jeff MacFarland and I encouraged students to incorporate video reflection in their research. Their impressive analytical research included carefully planned surveys and innovative model building. I continued my instructional collaboration with tech coach Ken Rodoff. With Ken now working across the District, my role supporting the integration of instructional technology became increasingly important to the high school. Not all instruction happens within the walls of our library. With the number of laptop carts in use in our building, my voice through the Virtual Library became even more important. This year I spent an ever increasing amount of time making collaborative, instructional house calls. To generalize the instructional trends, we are using new tools for research; exploring effective, ethical, and authentic media production; continuing our efforts in PowerPoint reform; exploiting the storage and collaborative features of cloud computing; and engaging students in careful writing, scripting, design, effective communication strategies. Whenever possible, we encouraged students to create written work and media that has authenticity, that is of interest to audiences beyond teacher’s eyes only.


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About Reading We hosted two successful One Book, One Springfield events this year. On November 11th students, teachers and members of the community met for a lively discussion of The Glass Castle. On February 17th we hosted a very lively adult discussion of Steve Harvey’s Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, an event that attracted many of our Parity parents. The top borrowed books this year were Glass Castle Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian Twilight To Kill a Mockingbird (criticism) The Things They Carried Breaking Dawn New Moon

Walls, Jeannette Hosseini, Khaled Meyer, Stephenie O’Brien, Tim Meyer, Stephenie Meyer, Stephenie

These more-borrowed titles represent a combination of reading list/OBOS books and the immense popularity of the Twilight series. Circulation statistics reveal some interesting trends. Total student borrowing is down 994, putting us approximately level with 2008-2009 numbers. (We had a bit of a peak last year.) The numbers indicate a continued borrowing dip for both 9th and 10th grades. One explanation is the influence of the laptop carts on class visits, particularly English classes that used to be among our heaviest users. Perhaps students are getting their books online, in other libraries, or perhaps they are downloading ebooks to their mobile devices. Perhaps we assign less outside reading after eighth grade. Eleventh grade history students are required to read nonfiction titles connected to the time periods they study. 12th graders make heavy use of books for their Senior Seminar projects. Perhaps we should consider the significant number of nonfiction and reference titles students use, or from which they make copies, while they are in the library. While we currently have no metric to assess this type of use, the heavy presence of books on tables and book carts is clear evidence of use. Another lost statistic relates to the number of book carts we currently select and deliver to classes using laptop carts. In the past, these books might have been checked out by multiple students multiple times during the course of a lengthy project. Book checkout is not directly connected to how much students read, but nevertheless, the second year of our ninth grade dip suggests that something happens between 8th and 9th grades and that, as a school, we might consider strategies for encouraging, or for not losing, enthusiastic young readers. It would be a true shame for our magnificent collection to exist underused.

These Genre Wordles (widgets and signs created by student volunteer Caroline Repola) function as pointers to suggested authors in student’s favorite genre. They are available on our website and as signs on the ends of our Fiction shelves.


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Class Visits and Usage Patterns 1291 classes visited our library this school year, 95 classes short of last year’s visit total. The increased use of the school’s laptop carts continues to cut into physical library visits. Nevertheless, the library was again heavily booked this year. It is not unusual for us to serve four classes during a single block. Some trends: This year, I increased the number of visits I made to classrooms. (A metric I will begin to keep next school year.) Library use and influence is not bounded by physical space. Students in classrooms using laptops continue to use library services through our collaboratively-developed units and pathfinders, through our databases, and the other resources our Virtual Library provides. I receive and answer frequent reference questions from students while at school and from home. This year, we increased the number of book/materials we delivered on carts to classrooms, another statistic we need to include in next year’s report. Many of our teachers with laptop carts choose to walk students to our library with their laptops. Heaviest class use came from Social Studies /Senior Seminar (53%) English (18%), and Language (15%) classes. October, March, and May were again the months of heaviest use. During March, our busiest month, we saw 185 visiting classes. A number of clubs call our library home, among them: Art Gallery, Interact, Senior Class Officers, Lacrosse, and the Gay Straight Alliance. Wednesday night usage continued steadily with a total of 254 students taking advantage of Honor Society tutoring. Many other students worked in small groups on research projects and used our technology resources. We are grateful to Casey Arlen for staffing the library on Wednesday evenings.

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About our collection We now offer students and faculty 33,443 items, an increase of 917 items since June 2009. For the second year we made use of PaperbackSwap which allows us to exchange used and unused books--often gifts or books we find at home--for titles our students really need. The service is free and efficient and allows us to quickly meet student needs. Our collection continues to expand in multiple directions. We offer streaming media subscription services, audio-books, databases, pathfinders, and assorted supplies and equipment. Cameras (especially video cams),headsets, and flash sticks continually move across the circulation desk, as well as supplies--lots of index cards, highlighters, and tissues. The library is the go-to place when a student needs anything. As the headquarters for the Pennsylvania Young Adult Top Forty Committee, we processed $89,521 worth of new titles shared with librarians around the state who are on our committee and resulting in a bounty of new titles for our own readers. This source of new books allows us to focus spending on areas of critical need and to support our subscription database and ebook collections. James Leber grant funds also allow us to add a number of attractive new titles in the areas of history, science, science fiction, and graphic arts each year.

About circulation This year we requested 219 items and received 135 items from other participating ACCESS PA libraries. We loaned 51 of our own items to other libraries. Students continued to make use of public and university library collections through interlibrary loan. At the beginning of their Senior Seminar classes, we reintroduced all seniors to the ACCESS PA database. Circulation ranged between 54 (June) and 569 (October) books per month. September, October, and March were the months of highest activity. Happily, we circulated 3419 items this year. Heaviest areas of print use are nearly identical to last year, with the highest circulation in the following areas: fiction, history, the arts, and the social sciences. With a growing online collection, we can no longer accurately measure use or student reading by circulation statistics alone. Book circulation is down over last year and about steady with our count in 2008. These statistics are indicative of our students increasing use of our online collection and free Web resources. (See sections on Database use and Interface.)


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Improving our interface

In September we launched our new Virtual Library interface. The site uses a variety of interactive components and is now far more dynamic, flexible, and interactive than the former, static html version. Among the new features are embedded books and videos, a Twitter feed for library news and announcements, polls, virtual bookshelves, Flickr photo slideshows, news and database widgets. This blog post for Tech & Learning deconstructs the new interface. In November, the site was nominated for an Edublog Award as a best educational wiki. Our Library Calendar also went digital this school year, allowing teachers an continually updated view of availability.

These charts show heavy use of our Virtual Library’s homepage, though it appears that the Wikispaces statistics experienced some kind of downage between February and March. December and late April/early May appear to be the periods of heaviest use with the site experiencing 600 to 700 views on some days. Our pathfinders, guides to specific research tasks, represent implicit instruction, presenting students’ information choices or buckets of information types. They are also among the most popular areas of our website. Over the past two school years, most or our Pathfinders were converted to wiki format. Those that are more news related, became PageFlakes, portals that allow us to gather dynamic news feeds. Use of our Pathfinders varies, of course, depending on whether an assignment is currently in progress. A closer look at a sample month for our Pathfinder menu page, which is non-seasonal, illustrates evidence of typical pathfinder traffic. On many days an individual pathfinder may experience more that 200 visits.

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Database use Our rich collection of subscription databases provides learners with much of the content they need for their research and personal information needs. These databases offer high quality sources in in a variety of formats--journals, magazines, newspapers, ebooks, video, etc. Though book circulation may be down a bit, this chart reveals the heavy use of our Gale databases, especially the cross-disciplinary Opposing Viewpoints database. Heavy use of the Gale Virtual Reference Library demonstrates students’ serious adoption of our growing ebook collection.

Our SIRS databases also experienced heavy use. It is interesting that some of our students, familiar with the younger Discoverer interface from Middle School, continue to use it. • • • • • •

Total Total Total Total Total Total

accesses to SIRS Knowledge Source: 8165 number of sessions: 4263 number of searches: 5117 accesses to Discoverer: 4141 number of sessions: 685 number of searches: 1679

JSTOR, a database of exclusively scholarly content, is a student favorite, particularly among our upperclassmen. Students searched this academic database more than 8,000 times this school year. I continued to reorganize our database pages by discipline and to share database widgets on our various pathfinder and lesson pages for easier access. Databases began to go mobile this year. I shared widgets for databases like JSTOR with students and teachers. In May, Gale released its AccessMyLibrary App for iPhone and iPod Touch. That means students have very convenient mobile access to the Gale products subscribed to by any local library, as well as our own. Students can download both the public and school library apps. In December, state budget cuts seriously impacted the offerings included in the Access PA POWER Library. With fewer databases available free from the state system, maintaining our own budget is even more critical. We are currently investigating consortium prices with the MCIU.


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Staff and volunteers and services Our library is fortunate to be staffed by able assistants Casey Arlen and Patty Gee. Casey and Patty manage our behind-the-desk operations, the collection, the budget, and our heavy communications with publishers for the Young Adult Top Forty initiative. They make every learner feel welcome and they are largely responsible for our library’s warm atmosphere. Because of their efforts, I am able to spend far more time working directly with teachers and learners and to visit classrooms. Casey, with support from Patty, keeps our library open on Wednesday nights. During these valuable two hours, National Honor Society students tutor any other students who sign up for help. This year we were lucky to have a wonderful group of volunteers. During the fall semester, Caroline Repola shared her study hall time with us testing new web-based software and creating a variety of new media. Caroline’s work included an advocacy film for our state database system, a video celebrating our core values for the AFG Committee, video ads for our book discussions, and our book genre Wordle signs and widgets. This year, independent study film students Ian Brunell and Sal D’Angelo produced incredible efforts used nationally in library advocacy efforts. Sal’s Imagine Strong School Libraries took first place in the national ALA Library Advocacy Day film contest and has been viewed more than 1000 times on a variety of educational portals. Ian did most of the film editing for the Wizard of Apps and together with help from the Concert Choir, helped me create a theme song for the Library of Congress, Sweet Primary Sources. Both videos were seen and used instructionally by thousands of educators. Our adult volunteers--Nora Neumann (a graduate library science student), Jackie Michelson (a former science teacher), and Rhoda Gansler (former teacher and a grandmother) helped create and maintain our pathfinders, process new materials, create displays and promotional materials, and test out new tools for instruction. All through the school year, a variety of study hall students and independent study students generously offered their time behind our circ desk and their talents creating posters, videos, advertisements for the Morning News, and bulletin boards to support library programs and goals.


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Other services Our regular Current Awareness Service, managed by Patty Gee, allows teachers to keep up with new developments in their fields, through quick access to tables of contents from their favorite journals. It is also a full-text copying service for those articles teachers request. I dramatically increased my emails to individual teachers and departments announcing new resources and emerging Web search and instructional tools. Many of these wonderful tips come from my now extensive PLN (personal learning network). I often share relevant tips from my Twitter and Diigo colleagues as well as posts from my School Library Journal blog with teachers via email. Our Library Use Calendar, now a GoogleDoc, reminds teachers of sign-up times and allows them to check availability for spontaneous classroom visits. Our Library maintains a photographic record of everything Springfield through two Flickr feeds on the Virtual Library homepage. Students are continually drawn to images of themselves at work and play on the Springfield Township High School gallery. We highlight the work of our student artists in our physical space as well as in our Springfield Flickr Gallery. Artists install and critique their work in our library. And student curators manage both the physical and online galleries. Our collection looks a lot different from the way it looked even two years ago. Teachers and students now make regular use of our still and video cameras (thanks to our generous PTA!) as well as our headsets, tripods, cables, and flash drives. This year’s displays included an introduction to our new staff, African American History, Cold Books, Staff Baby Photos, Scary Books, Breast Cancer Awareness, Prom Pics, and the ever-popular Senior Plans. Barbara Lawler and the students in Tom Mullaney’s class regularly worked with us on these displays. The library serves as party central. We host many evening and after-school receptions, meetings, and events, including wedding and baby showers.

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In the community On February Middle School librarian Ro Becker and I hosted a well-attended PTA workshop on new research and writing tools (This video shares a portion of that session.)

I enjoyed participating in many other community events which included Taste of Springfield, our gallery openings, and our OneBookOneSpringfield discussions. I am particularly excited about the launch of Virtual Springfield, a project that will involve many members of our community and make the archives of our community’s history far more available. Community historian Ed Zwicker and I had a couple of planning sessions. Students working with me for their LEEP experience are gathering oral histories from interviews with local seniors, creating an interactive map of community landmarks, and creating a narrated video tour, to post on a NIng social networking site. The Springfield Sun recently described the launch of our project. Over the course of the year visitors to our library included teachers and administrators from Newtown Friends School, and West Chester, Dallastown, MaST Community Charter School, and Chappaqua Central (NY) School Districts. I conducted another of my annual workshops for the pre-service librarians from Arcadia University. The library functioned as a home away from home for our many Italian visitors early this spring. Students in Max Malossini’s Waves program presented their work in the library and immediately shared many memories with their family via the library’s Flickr pages


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Professional accomplishments Professionally, this has been an incredibly rewarding year. My blogs force me to continually reflect on my practice and make new discoveries. Nearly everything I write about in some way impacts Springfield’s library program. This year, the NeverEndingSearch blog was nominated for four Edublog Awards (best educational blog, most influential post) and won the Best Library/Library blog. Our Virtual Library was nominated for a Best Educational Wiki Edublogs award. I was honored to be listed as one of the 100@30 by Tech & Learning and to be selected for their cover. I was selected as one of the Educators that Rock, by Finding Dulcinea, Nov. 2009. The same blog described our library program. I was selected for and attended the Google Teacher Academy, December 2009. I spent a great deal of my personal time planning advocacy efforts in support of libraries. I worked closely with Lisa Brunkan (of the Spokane Moms) and Mike Eisenberg (U. Washington) to plan a Northwest regional summit and several smaller efforts. I planned and hosted a Crisis Webinar on the TLCafe.

Committees, networks, publications Over this school year, in addition to my blogs for School Library Journal and Technology & Learning, I published the following: • Valenza, JK. (2010) Tag Team Tech: Evolving the Virtual School Library, Deconstructing the Essentials, eVOYA, Apr. • Valenza, JK. (2009) How to retool yourself--a roadmap of at least 16 ways by Joyce Valenza Tech & Learning, 17 Dec. • Valenza, J.K. and D. Johnson. (2009) Things that Keep Us Up at Night. School Library Journal, Oct. 1. • Valenza, J.K. (2009) 14 Ways K–12 Librarians Can Teach Social Media Tech & Learning, 21 Sept. 21. Print issue Oct. • Valenza, J.K. (2009) High School Seniors and Social Networking. eVOYA. Oct. (article and upcoming book chapter) Our library was featured in: Firth, S. (2010) Finding Dulcinea: A Visit to the Springfield Township High School Library. Feb.10; April Ash, K. (2010), School Libraries Seek Relevance Through Virtual Access. EdWeek. Feb. 9; and in Hardy, L. (2010) The Future of Libraries, National School Board Journal in January. Our work was also mentioned several times in the American Library Association’s comments to the Department of Education regarding the National Education Technology Plan. I continue to manage the TeacherLibrarian Ning, an international social networking site for teacher-librarians, now with more than 4,853 members and the LM_NET wiki, an online document annex for the popular international electronic mailing list. Together with a small group of colleagues gathered at the AASL Conference in Charlotte, I launched the TLCafe, a monthly series of online professional development for teacher librarians, as well as the School Library Websites wiki. In the school community, I co-chaired the Senior Awards Committee and served on the AFG team and the District Foundation and Technology Committees. I was an active member of the subcommittee that revised the District’s Acceptable Use Policy.


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Presentations and workshops I was asked to present at several national and international conferences this year. These included: the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC/ISTE), Alan November’s Building Learning Communities, the School Library Journal Summit, the National Council of Teachers of English, the Christa McAuliffe Conference, and the American Library Association (ALA). I was honored to be asked to speak on the future of reference at the 15th anniversary of the Internet Public Library at Drexel University in March. I presented at several regional and state conferences, including the New Jersey Association of School Librarians, the Hawaii Association of School Librarians, and the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association (PSLA). At PSLA, I helped organize and present a half-day CFF coaches and librarians session, organized a lively Smackdown (sharing session), and chaired the annual Top Forty Books session. Throughout the year, I presented virtually at a variety of other state and regional conferences via such telecommunication tools as Skype, Elluminate, and Second Life. I helped to organize two major professional conferences this past year. I helped plan the international K12 Online Conference and I was on the Conference Committee and chaired technology for the AASL National Conference in Charlotte in early November. At the AASL Conference, my committee and I were able to create new traditions with our Bloggers’ Cafe, our Smackdown session, and highly successful unconference. This coming summer I will again present sessions at the national ISTE conference in Denver, at Building Learning Communities in Boston, and at the School Librarians (SLAV) conference in Melbourne, Australia. I was honored to be selected as one of a small group of educators for the new Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Mentors institute and will spend a week at the Library the July developing online instruction around that massive collection.


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Issues Several incidents of plagiarism this year, particularly among second-semester seniors, pointed to the need for a more systemic approach to academic integrity. This year Jen McCaslin, Peggy Zehner, Tommy Vizza and I designed and conducted two survey instruments (one for students, one for teachers) regarding perceptions of the honesty climate in the High School. We presented the results at the May faculty meeting and will be working on the data and on composing a draft of new academic integrity guidelines at a Summer Academy. The student survey collected data from a sample of 438. Although many of the items produced interesting data, one chart particularly resonated with our committee. It points clearly to a need for refocussing our homework strategies:

Another chart revealed students’ perception that one third of our their classmates plagiarize on a regular basis. This data is a wake up call demonstrating a serious need for culture change.

I know that these results are not unique to Springfield Township, and I believe we take steps toward improving the academic integrity climate of our school. I hope that we can make better use of our Turnitin.com subscription as a plagiarism deterrent. Several teachers who use it regularly find the service very helpful in deterring plagiarism and in discerning less-than-honest academic efforts. Many members of our current teaching staff were not around for the whole-school research initiative implemented several years back. This year I was not offered the opportunity I traditionally had to spend a full day with our newly hired teachers. Also, though I made efforts to visit our CFF classrooms with their laptop carts, I saw those classes less frequently and had less influence on those students’ work and the development of their projects. As a community, we can revisit our efforts in developing projects that involve learners in meaningful inquiry. With the ever-growing number of new tools available for research and communication, this is an especially opportune time to reintroduce and remix our research effort. I hope to continue to work with the AFG’s Academic Rigor Team to reinvigorate our former initiative and to work with faculty to create challenging projects unlikely to inspire plagiarism.

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Issues (continued) This summer I look forward to working with Ken Rodoff in planning and presenting a Summer Academy on digital storytelling and in working with the District librarians on integrating more Library 2.0 tools. I hope that Ken and I will be able to present a few new strategies at next year’s faculty meetings and that some concentrated inservice time will be allotted for the introduction of effective new tools during the school year. We are aware that we have an equity issue--teachers across the various disciplines and grade levels integrate technology at varying levels. Equipment was a serious concern for much of the school year. By the end of the school year, 13 of our library workstations were not working. Losing access to three or four computers in each of our labs on a fairly regular basis, significantly affected our ability to serve full classes and frustrated a great number of students and teachers.

Plans and goals Chief among my goals for next school year is developing strategies to encourage reading. I will be discussing the issue with the coordinators of our departments and with individual teachers. I’ve also been recruiting a team of students to help me build a reading promotion program and to explore new technology and communication tools. I plan to continue growing our Virtual Springfield site with new student volunteers and with community members and organizations. I hope to begin a serious weeding of our collection to eliminate dated titles, and ensure that fresh, new books are seen. I hope to apply what I learn at the summer Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Mentors institute into our curriculum. And I continue to work on the new edition Power Tools 2.0: Remixing School Library Instruction and Service for ALA Editions.

Wrapping up It’s been a year of ups and downs. While book borrowing and actual class visits may have declined a bit, our Virtual Library is a vibrant learning space and our physical space buzzes with production and creativity, a hub of the school. And I spend my days between the libraries and the classroom. As I looked around our space this last week, it was clear to me that our physical space has morphed into what San Jose professor David Loertscher would call, a learning commons. As I watched our students and teachers use our Virtual Library, it was clear to me that our users enter our space through both its front doors. Every once in a while you get a gift like the one below from a student who reminds you that your work makes a difference. Back in December, I received this lovely holiday gift from a former student. Mrs. Valenza, Ted Edwards here. I just wrapped up my first semester at Penn State, and thought I'd drop you a line. I took for granted the library and the resources I had in high school. It wasn't until I got to college that I realized all I was provided in high school. I saw fellow students struggle with their research and writing research papers, whereas for me, it was a breeze. No doubt due to the hours I spent in your library on Proquest, Galenet, JSTOR, etc. More than once, I found myself utilizing some of the resources from the library web page to find some primary resources, etc. Also, in my history lecture, my professor brought up JSTOR, and asked if anyone had any experience with it. I was the ONLY one in my 100 student lecture. Needless to say, my professor was impressed. Well, thanks a lot Mrs. Valenza, I'm sure you'll see me floating around the building sometime in the next few months. Keep up the good work! Be well, and happy holidays. Sincerely, Teddy Edwards

Respectfully submitted,

Joyce Kasman Valenza


AnnualReport 2009/2010