From the Editor of Learning & Media Volume 40, Issue 4 SUMMER 2013
Table of Contents
The 40th Annual PSLA Conference celebrated the “RUBY” anniversary of our organization by continuing the traditions of sharing experiences, offering professional development and building relationships. The red shoes shown above were spied at the Keynote Address. Many came prepared for the Red Shoes contest event at the Gala, for the opportunities as a conference first timer or for seeing the latest in technology. Veteran participants came to learn the best new ideas to take back with them to their school library and to hear what is going to influence instruction with the Model Curriculum. Learning & Media is still looking for pictures, articles and commentary on the 40th Annual PSLA Conference from May 2013. If you would be willing to share perspective or commentary on any of the following topics, please email me and we can discuss how you can be a contributor to Learning & Media. Topics: Un-Conference Experience, First-Time Conference Attendee, The Best Workshop/Session/Technology Experience I Have Ever Attended Was …..
Ruby is the gemstone
I look forward to hearing that you will share your experiences and knowledge. Our future deadlines for submission for Learning & Media are: November 15th, February 15th, May 15th and August 15th. Sally Myers Table of Contents President’s Message PSLA Definition of a Quality School Library Program 2014-2015 Legislative Campaign PSLA Committees – What you should know….. PSLA Administrator Award PSLA’s 40th Conference – Images, Awards and More Collaboration at Home and Abroad Congratulations In Memory Me? A School Librarian? Award Presentation PSLA Outstanding Contributor Award Presentation Devin Scillian Letter
2 2 3 4 6 7 9 12 12 13 13 14 1
President's Message Eileen Kern, President, PSLA Summer is a great time to renew, reenergize, reflect, and reorganize. What better way to accomplish this task than to sit by the water, whether a lake or a beach, and read! Yes, it is time to read all those books you have wanted to read throughout the school year but had no time! This summer on my reading list are some great mysteries, biographies, romance novels, and professional readings. Included on my top ten list of professional reading are: Empowering Leadership: Developing Behaviors for Success by Ann Martin (AASL) and Leadership is an Art by Max DePree (Currency Books). As a school librarian, we wear many hats: Teacher, Information Specialist, Instructional Partner, and Program Administrator. The one hat that is vital in creating a strong school library presence in your school is Leader! Empowering Learners: Guide to School Library Programs identifies some of the practices that demonstrate a school librarian being a leader but does not provide the characteristics, traits, or the mind-set needed to be a leader. During the last year of my term of office, I have added leadership as an additional presidential initiative. Through grant money from the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, the PSLA Board of Directors and committee chairs will be reading two books about leadership. We will be asking ourselves these essential questions: • •
What attributes are crucial for the leaders to exemplify? How do school librarians seize leadership opportunities?
Based on the small group discussions, each group will share with the membership their thoughts through articles, blogs, tweets, or presentations. A strong library program is a critical element to student learning. The school librarian is the foundation of the program. Professional growth of the school librarian is the key to maintaining that role. As you sit by the water this summer renewing and reenergizing yourself, reflect on your role as a leader. Remember the words of John F. Kennedy, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”
Pennsylvania School Librarians Association
Definition of a Quality School Library Program Every Pennsylvania student and teacher needs a quality school library. A quality school library program: •
Instructs and empowers students to use and create information;
Encourages students to read independently;
Provides quality print and digital resources;
Supplies up-to-date information technologies that are available 24/7;
Receives adequate annual funding to support these components.
A full-time, certified librarian leads this program and teaches with other teachers to assure student academic success. (Adopted, Board of Directors, July 17, 2013)
2014 - 2015 Legislative Campaign By Debra E. Kachel, Co-Chairperson, PSLA Legislation Committee For the past three years, PSLA has launched postcard campaigns to state legislators asking for an increase in the state budget line item known as “Library Access.” Back in 2007-08, this line was appropriated at $ 7M and pays for state projects, such as ACCESS PA, POWER Library databases, and interlibrary loan. After four years of level funding at around $3M, the Library Access line has been increased by $250,000 or 8.86% for 2013-14. With this small victory, PSLA members and school library advocates are being asked to make a personal visit to their state legislators in their local district offices during the summer and early fall. In order to impact the 2014-15 state budget, our “ask” of an additional $2M in the Library Access line (bringing it to just over $5M) needs to get in the preliminary budgets by November 1. This is a good time since legislators like to meet their constituents and both the House and Senate are in recess until September 23. PSLA is asking librarians to organize the visits by: 1. Selecting a legislator who represents your school district or your home address and signing up to organize a visit (School districts and the legislators who represent them are listed by IU on the PSLA wiki at http://pslawiki.wikispaces.com/Legislative+Network.) 2. Inviting parents, other school and public librarians, teachers, and other voters to go along and organizing who will discuss which talking points and share a personal story. 3. Setting up an appointment with the legislator’s office and completing the visit. The PSLA Wiki at http://pslawiki.wikispaces.com/Legislative+Network has the following resources and more will be added: • Legislator’s Handout • Advocacy Campaign Handout with directions on how to locate and contact your legislators and talking points for the visit The fact that a small increase was added to Library Access for 2013-14, tells us that legislators are hearing the message and understanding the need. Now is the time for librarians to develop a face-to-face relationship with legislators who represent them and their schools. This campaign is being supported by both the Pennsylvania PTA and the PaLA, the public library association.
PSLA COMMITTEES These are the first of a continuing series highlighting PSLA Committees. As we share the work of the committees, please consider becoming a part of a PSLA committee. Library Promotions Committee
Shannon Resh, Chairperson
What would you say is the most important thing readers should know about Library Promotions? The purpose of the PSLA Library Promotions Committee is to collaborate and promote school libraries in various ways. This collaboration extends beyond fellow school librarians to public libraries, parent interest groups and more! If you had a magic wand, what would you change in your committee responsibilities? The Library Promotions Committee needs many members! Pennsylvania school librarians are a very creative and dedicated group of people with fantastic ideas for activities and connections that are already working. These ideas should be shared in the spirit of collaboration. More people = more ideas! Consider joining the committee and make a difference in the diversity of ideas that are presented. What do you think are the strengths of your committee? The beauty of the ideas shared within the Library Promotions Committee is that we are showcasing current practices in action. The projects and activities that are being generated into user-friendly documents, flyers and handouts and presentations are all “tried and true” practices that are working for school librarians in Pennsylvania. The committee looks for ways to concisely promote ideas that can blossom into bigger ideas within the school library. What information do you think would encourage members to join your committee? We strive to be as organized as possible and this year’s special focus will be to create and maintain a timeline for projects that are put together in small chunks that are very manageable to the very busy schedules of our volunteer committee members. Using templates for documents, flyers and handouts will make the focus stay on the content rather than the pressure of the design. This will also allow for more uniform presentation of the materials generated by the committee. Professional Development Committee
Allison Burrell and Vickie Saltzer, Co-Chairpersons
What is the most important thing you think librarians should know about the Professional Development Committee? As the Professional Development Co-Chairs, Allison and Vickie think that the most important thing librarians should know now is that it is important to stay current through professional development. It does not always need to be in a formal setting, but rather it should be a constant consumption of information obtained through various mediums. Librarians need to be up to date on things like social media, digital curation, RDA, etc. Ways to obtain professional development: • Free Webinars (Booklist has great resources: http://www.booklistonline.com/GeneralInfo.aspx?id=73) • Twitter (Follow nationally known librarians: 125 Librarians to follow http://www.mattanderson.org/blog/2013/01/22/125-librarians-to-follow-on-twitter/ ) • Professional Journals • PSLA • WebJunction
What important initiatives, projects, activities will be happening in the next six months? The professional development committee will be organizing a webpage on PSLA that will provide a clearinghouse of professional development opportunities. This webpage will be updated frequently as new opportunities become available. If you had a magic wand, what would you change in the library field that relates to your committeeâ€™s work? Oh great Magic Wand, please grant us the time we need to provide great library service to our patrons!!!! It would be wonderful if the magic wand could provide time for librarians to digest just a small portion of the vast amount of professional development opportunities that are available and apply them in their libraries. Many times a great idea passes by because there is not enough time to think about the great impact it could have in our libraries. Time is so valuable, but staying current on the craft of librarianship is vital to keeping our profession alive. Curriculum Committee
Dotty Delafield and Katherine Miller, Co-chairpersons
What is the most important thing you think librarians should know about now? Katherine: We need to learn and use/adapt the new model curriculum. The new model curriculum is based on the PA Common Core standards, which every teacher in Pennsylvania will be expected to use in the near future. If we use/adapt this new model curriculum, it will help us to advocate for our positions, because now we are helping our teachers teach things that might be in their new standards that they are unfamiliar with teaching. Plus, the new Common Core standards just scream librarians! Dotty: The big picture of the mission of school librarians has been, is currently and will continue to be the teaching of information literacy skills and serving as readers advisor. As we become more familiar with the school library model curriculum, we will experience deja vu. We've been here before, and it will feel like a comfortable pair of shoes! The Big Ideas, Essential Questions and Competencies aren't new to us. We've been doing them for decades and this is just a new format. What important initiatives, projects, activities will be happening in the next six months? Katherine: This summer Library Model Curriculum Committee will be helping to work on the next piece of the model curriculum, the assessment. Once that is complete, we will work on getting information out to the librarians of Pennsylvania. Dotty: The next step in the Model Curriculum is developing the Assessment piece. For some of us there will be some new territory to learn, but as the state-wide committee completes the work, information and professional development will be offered to prepare us for this aspect of the Common Core. If you had a magic wand, what would you change in the library field that relates to your committee's work? Katherine: That all PA school librarians and those that work with school libraries would suddenly know the model curriculum and have it memorized because then they wouldn't have to do all the work of getting familiar with it. Dotty: Magic wand, please reduce the amount of testing for our students and replace it with more time for them to explore knowledge and immerse themselves in the written word.
PSLA Administrator Award (Building) (Transcript of the presentation by PSLA Board Member, Robert McConnell of the Outstanding Administrator Award 2013)
Good Morning, today I have the opportunity to introduce the building level winner of the 2013 Outstanding Administrator Award. Dan Greenland is the Principal of Holland Middle School for the Council Rock School District. He was nominated by Barbara Tiger, Middle School Librarian for the district. When Dan was promoted to Principal in 2010, his personal goal was to evaluate every aspect of the building. He began by organizing a committee consisting of teachers, administrators, librarians and library assistants for the purpose of creating the optimum learning environment and opportunities for the students and staff. At the first meeting he stated: “I not only want us to be the best Middle School in the region, I want us to strive to be the best in the state of Pennsylvania and beyond.” The first step was to restructure the physical layout of the library. During the summer Dan rolled up his sleeves along with the maintenance department and physically rebuilt the library. I am sure you will agree this demonstrates Dan’s strong commitment to the school library and future of his students. Besides physically reorganizing the library facility, Dan realizes the importance of funding a successful library for the 21st century learner. The students now have access to updated books, magazines, e-books, databases and 22 iPads. Dan understands the importance of technology, library staffing and its role in the educational setting. He provides leadership for the librarian, Barbara Tiger, by attending several conferences and workshops to ensure the library is equipped with the latest technology so the students could master the Standards for the 21st Century learner. Barbara was able to present professional development for her faculty and they were amazed how the resources supplemented their curriculum. Currently, the students collaboratively work together in the library to improve their research, critical thinking and problem solving skills. When Dan was asked about the role and traits of school librarian, he responded with the following characteristics: “excited, compassionate, collaborator, knowledgeable, inviting, love of learning, leadership among staff, co-teacher, promote and enhance learning, visionary, strong cutting edge and most of all be enthusiastic about the library profession and enjoy students!” Dan is supportive of Inquiry-based learning, collaboration, and assessment with a full-time librarian and faculty. As stated by Barbara Tiger, “Because of Dan’s support we are developing lifelong learners, creating an atmosphere conducive to personal growth and enjoyment while stimulating our students’ educational development. Dan’s leadership has made this possible.” And in Dan’s own words: The school library program should be the hub and the focus point of the school.” It is my pleasure to present Dan Greenland the 2013 PSLA Outstanding School Administrator Award.
40th Annual PSLA Conference Did we see you there?
Continued on Page 12
Collaboration at Home and Abroad: One Librarian’s ePals Experience by Lindsey Myers, Peters Township High School Library Media Specialist “Global citizenship” is a term that is currently being tossed about quite a bit in educational circles. In order to actively participate in our modern society, it is believed that students need to have a thorough understanding of and willingness to discover more about life beyond what they experience in their hometowns. During my experience traveling and working with the international organization Children’s International Summer Villages (CISV-www.cisv.org), I witnessed firsthand how exposure to individuals from other parts of the world can positively affect the cultural understanding and perspective of students of all ages. Travel can play a major role in encouraging students to seek out and understand different cultures, but many students do not have the opportunity to fly to Mexico to talk with a native speaker, or hop on a plane to the United Kingdom to learn how British students experience Shakespeare. Now, however, we live in an age where students can sit in the classroom and experience another culture at the click of a button. Collaborative online communities such as Skype in the Classroom, Edmodo, and ePals easily connect students and educators from all over the world. Due to my work with CISV and my own love of travel, one of my professional goals this year was to collaborate with an English teacher to develop a global collaborative literature circles project. Last year, I received a grant for ten iPads from our school’s Education Foundation to foster these types of collaborative projects. I wrote the grant with a specific collaborative project in mind, as I worked with an English teacher to develop a unit that would allow students from different cultures to collaboratively read a novel or text, learning about themselves and how they experience the text in the process. I worked closely with Sonya Ring, a wonderfully openminded English teacher, who jumped at the chance to create a global collaborative project with her Honors English 9 classes. After exploring several different collaborative communities and options, I settled on using ePals as a method of connection and communication with educators abroad. ePals not only allows educators to connect with other like-minded individuals around the world, but it also has multiple features that allow for a vibrant online community to develop between groups of students. Teachers can create unique student email accounts on ePals, and monitor all communication with between the students. Furthermore, teachers can create class project pages, where students can participate in blog posts or discussion threads, and collaborate on a wiki page. ePals became an integral part of our global collaborative project at Peters, and the iPads easily allowed students to participate in activities using ePals. After I posted an initial message showing interest in collaborative literature circles and classroom connections for ePals, I was contacted by a variety of teachers from across the world in a matter of days. After assessing each email and discussing our options with Sonya, we connected with Ms. Kelley Webb, an English teacher at the Columbus School, in Medellin, Colombia, South America. We “met” via Skype to introduce ourselves and discuss possible ideas for collaborative projects. Ms. Webb was familiar with the ePals community, and explained many of the features to us and created our class project page. Our global literature circles project had two end goals: to teach students about another culture, and to illustrate how they can use digital collaborative communities for educational purposes. I believe that we succeeded in meeting these goals through the many activities that we created and participated in with Ms. Webb’s classroom.
Each student in Sonya’s and Kelley’s classes was paired with an ePal and given an ePals email account. Students completed initial contact with their ePals by emailing and sharing their favorite activities and discussing what they hoped to discover by reading and responding to The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Ms. Webb’s students are bilingual, so both groups of students were able to communicate with relative ease. Yet, some of our students were excited at the opportunity to practice Spanish with a native speaker, and requested to write partially in Spanish. The second activity was to create class introductory videos to send to their Colombian counterparts. Using the set of iPads, students created video introductions for their ePals, sharing their favorite books and also some pictures of their daily activities. Many students currently studying Spanish decided to introduce themselves in their ePal’s native language. We also worked with a Spanish teacher to instruct all students in learning a few lines of Spanish as an opening and closing message to the videos to illustrate our appreciation of the native language of our ePals. The final activities included collaboratively discussing acts from The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet using the blog feature on our ePals project page, as well as creating Voicethreads discussing their favorite and most relatable characters. Students in Ms. Webb’s classes posted responses to a question about the play, and then our students replied. We also created discussion threads to share our Voicethread links. Students used the iPads to create the Voicethreads, and were able to use the video feature on the iPads to comment, allowing students in Colombia to “see” their ePal via Voicethread. The culminating activity will consist of a Skype session between the students to discuss the overall themes of the play, as well as their impressions the project in general. Student feedback is extremely important to us as we proceed with designing new experiences for the coming school year. I designed a simple survey using Google Forms to collect student comments, and I plan to review their suggestions and incorporate their ideas as we move forward. I do want to mention a couple of notes and quirks about using ePals. First, it’s important to make sure that you fully understand the filter restrictions for the exchange of emails between students. When our students were not receiving emails that Kelley’s students sent, we realized that not only must their teacher approve the emails but also that we had to approve her students’ emails before they were sent to our students. It is easy to change the filtering options to suit one’s needs, and in the future we might use a different filter level for email. Furthermore, once a teacher is added to a project page, his or her students should be added as well. Ms. Webb and I found out that this did not occur right away for us. She, however, was able to contact ePals and they quickly fixed the problem so we did not lose any class time for the project. Ultimately, we were working to instill in students an appreciation and understanding of what the term “global citizen” truly means and how learning about different perspectives enhances their knowledge not only of class content, but also of their own role in fostering cross-cultural understanding. Working with new technology can make this happen, as long as you are willing to adapt, react, and explore new tools along the way. We had to edit some lessons as we learned how to use ePals, and what would work best for our students and our class schedules. We also created new ideas for incorporating iPads in the classroom and how they could be used most efficiently for the project. I believe that I learned as much as the students learned during the activities! Finally, Ms. Ring and I developed a wonderful PLC, or Professional Learning Community, with Ms. Webb. We learned things from each other, and collaborated easily via email and Skype. At the end of the project, Ms. Ring noted that “in addition to increasing readiness to read the play and developing connections, the project enhanced the content area skills of writing (ePals, blog posts) and presenting (introductory video and skype session). Perhaps most importantly, the collaboration helped students appreciate the universal appeal and importance of Shakespeare’s work.” 10
The most wonderful part of these types of collaborative activities is that they are simple activities that teachers can incorporate within their existing curriculum, which is enhanced through collaboration and learning by and about different perspectives from another country. With a bit of technology and a lot of creativity, teachers and students can work together to promote global citizenship and cultural understanding. I look forward to “traveling” via ePals with many students and classes again next year! Images of the One Librarian’s ePals Experience
Students using iPads to create videos sharing their
with their ePals.
Students use iPads to create Voicethreads to share favorite books with their ePals.
Ms. Myers assisting students while they blog and create Voicethreads
40th Annual PSLA Conference Images (Continued From Page 7):
Images Courtesy of E. Long, Kutztown University
Allison Mackley, Librarian at Hershey High School, Hershey PA
Marion Saul, PSLA Outstanding Contributor
Allison was selected as one of 40 librarians nationally to participate in the first ALA Leadership Institute – “Leading into the Future” in the summer of 2013. Allison recently served as Co-Chair of the PA Forward Information Literacy Committee. She is a PSLA committee member on the Learning & Media staff, currently taking on the role of L & M Associate Editor.
She was a graduate of East Greenville High School and a graduate of Kutztown State College, where she received her B.S. in Education. She started her career as a librarian at Muhlenberg College. She later became Head Librarian at Parkland High School for over 30 years. Marion loved to read and had a lifelong passion for teaching and learning new things. She also loved to travel. Marion was a recipient of the PSLA Outstanding Contributor Award. We will miss her PSLA participation.
Me? A School Librarian? Award Winner is Morgan Rafel Transcript Submitted by Allison Burrell, Librarian, Grades K-12, Southern Columbia Area SD
Morgan Rafel, the 2013 recipient of the Me? A School Librarian? Award, is a senior at Central Columbia High School, where she works as a library intern for her mentor, Jennifer Bates. She will be attending Kutztown University this fall to earn her undergraduate degree in library science. Later, she hopes to be an elementary or middle school librarian in a larger city. She looks forward to all the questions that children of those ages are likely to ask! Morgan was happy to attend the 2013 conference because it helped her get a look at the bigger picture of being a school librarian and solidify her career goals. As she finishes her high school career, she looks forward to assisting Mrs. Bates in continuing to develop their library as the hub of the school and as a place where students find pleasure in reading. Congratulations to Morgan and best wishes as she continues her education to become a school librarian! ******************************************************************************************************
PSLA Outstanding Contributor Award Winner is Connie Roupp Transcript Submitted by Marge Foster, AASL Affiliate Assembly Rep., Membership Chair, PSLA
Tonight it is my great pleasure and honor to present the 2013 PSLA Outstanding Contributor Award to an outstanding model of a school librarian whose impact as a leader is evident at the district, community, regional and state level. In the Athens Area School District, Connie Roupp’s commitment to students was demonstrated not only by her position as the junior high school librarian, but also by her role as advisor for the Student Assistance Program and her involvement with numerous drama productions. Connie’s willingness to serve on numerous committees, such as Act 48 and Strategic Planning, as well as her presentations at several professional development workshops exemplifies her definition of a school librarian as a leader. Connie strongly supports public library cooperation. At Spalding Memorial Public Library in Athens, PA Connie serves as a Board Member, secretary, member of the Personnel and Policy Committees and a Friend of the Library. This illustrates her commitment to the community. At the regional level, Connie shares her expertise and her philosophy of lifelong learning by presenting PSLA and PDE workshops and teaching senior citizen classes at Lackawanna College and also at the Senior Expo. Early this week she presented a Learning 4 Life Workshop to the PALS group. Dedication to the profession is a primary trait of Connie. She has served and continues to serve at the state level. Connie was on the PSLA Board of Directors as Secretary, Director and Treasurer. She has chaired many committees – Library Promotions, Professional Development, Budget and Finance and presently chairs Special Needs. Connie works tirelessly on the Conference Committee inputting financial data and currently is the Conference Treasurer. I remember sitting in the dais during the Friday night banquet at one of the PSLA Conferences many years ago and chatting with Connie. She confided that the very first time she attended a PSLA conference she looked at the head table in awe and said to herself, “Someday I will be up there in a leadership position for PSLA. That is definitely one of my professional goals!” Connie’s leadership, commitment, and dedication continue to make a significant impact on school libraries. Tonight she reaches yet another pinnacle in her professional growth as she is the recipient of PSLA’s 2013 Outstanding Contributor Award. Congratulations Connie!