ESSA implementation across different states.

Ward-Sell, Krista,

Topic: ESSA

Darling-Hammond, L. Soung, B. Channa, M. Cook, H. Lam L., Mercer, C. Podolsky, A. and Stosich, E.L.  Pathways to New Accountability Through the Every Student Succeeds Act (Palo Alto: Learning Policy Institute, 2016). Retrieved from


A report on the proper implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which places an emphasis on local control of accountability in three areas. Deep learning, “Professionally skilled and committed educators, Adequate and appropriate resources that enable and support the first two pillars.” The emphasis being on continual rounds of improvement. This report documents the structure that multiple states have put into effect, highlighting some of the best strategies for compliance.  The part of this report that specifically concerns us as librarians is the third pillar, the adequate and appropriate supports. While the report categorizes most of the support coming from counsellors and social workers. There is a part to play here for librarians, both in the instructional and the support columns. 


I sit on the California program committee for my school site and have done for the last three years, I will most likely continue to sit on it for the next year. This local control group has input into how to fix the problems sourced from local stakeholders. Getting the ear of members of the LCAP (Local Control and Accountability Program) or sitting in on these meetings can be very helpful in the struggle to fight for more of the resources your library program needs. The description of this program and the contrast this report gives to other state’s plans for accountability is interesting. This report is worth reading for anyone who wants to know more about how different states meet the accountability requirements set out by ESSA.

Microdocumentation of the Impact of Teacher Librarians on Teaching and Learning

Galang, Johnny


Loertscher, D. (2017, June). Microdocumentation of the impact of teacher librarians on teaching and learning. Teacher Librarian 44(5), 44-7.

This article describes the traditional and emerging roles of the teacher-librarian. The LIIITE model is described in detail. The author also asserts the importance of the teacher-librarian, but acknowledges that the value of teacher-librarians is not widely understood. As a result, Loertscher encourages documenting successful collaborations between TLs and classroom teachers.

This article helped me to better understand the LIIITE model. It will be interesting to see the outcomes of this ongoing research project.

English Curriculum’s Tired Texts

Name: Needham, Theresa


Brown, D.D. ( 2015, January 25). The crushing boredom of a tired curriculum. Retrieved from

Summary: The article’s purpose is the acknowledgement of the elephant in every English teacher’s classroom, mandated curriculum, especially texts. The underlying problem is the requirement to adhere to a standardized and enforced curriculum which removes a teachers’ freedom to individuality select engaging texts for their students, which will support student’s interests and reading  strengths.  Many teachers are required to teach classical literature, which they themselves do not have a passion for; therefore becoming a hard sell to students.

Evaluation: The article is written by a high school student, which perhaps makes the argument he presents that much more compelling.  He argues that without the freedom of choice, everything which happens within the classroom becomes more of a forced context of tired completion rather than the inspired construction driven by creativity. The classroom of today has become hoops which a student must jump through to earn a grade. This is a good read.

Historical Justification and Underpinnings of the American Common Core

Robillard, Gail


Wallender, J. (2014). The Common Core state standards in American public education: Historical underpinnings and justifications. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, 80(4), 7-11. Retrieved at

In this literature review, the author documents and discusses the historical underpinnings and justifications surrounding CCSS, and synthesizes four main justifications for their adoption. She asserts that only by educators understanding why and how the CCSS adoption came to be will their implementation be effective. The four justifications are creating common educational standards, preparing students for college, stressing quality education for all students, and increasing rigor in schools. The author notes that these four justifications are not new; early educational standards likewise grew from these same objectives.

I like the format of a literature review as it attempts to synthesize all the relevant literature on a topic, thereby giving more weight to the findings. I was interested in the historical development of educational standards as detailed by the author. It was interesting to see what philosophical goals were important to early educators. While the goals seem the same, nonetheless the CCSS have been controversial.  I would be interested in further reading on what precise arguments have been posed against the CCSS. A less important thing I learned was that Delta Kappa Gamma is a professional honor society of women educators, begun just after women were granted the right to vote, in order to promote women in educational leadership positions. The society does not currently permit men to become members. 

The Tech Elite’s Quest to Reinvent School in its Own Image

Iansito, Karah
Tanz, J.  (2015, October 26).  The tech elite’s quest to reinvent school in its own image.
This article discusses the influence Salman Khan (of Khan Academy) and others in the tech elite have on curriculum, instruction, and assessment in today’s classrooms.  
Evaluation  (from my essay on the topic of curriculum and assessment)
In exploring the leading education theorists, I came across much having to do with Silicon Valley’s tech elite and their status as education theorists, or at the very least, their huge influence on curriculum in the 21st century classroom.  This is a topic that both fascinates and infuriates me.  I think there are undoubtedly good ideas that can come from those outside of the education field, but our society’s preoccupation with a silver bullet for all that ails the system can be maddening. Too often, this “silver bullet” comes from the corporate world, and is really just a thinly veiled money grab at the students, teachers, and families expense.  In any case, I finally got around to learning more about the undeniably impressive Salman Khan and his Khan Academy.  This led me to see what Khan is up to lately, which led me to an article written about eighteen months ago about Khan’s first brick and mortar school.  I was inspired.  Not because of all the fancy tech, or the fact that there is a thirty minute mindfulness session daily, but because of the school’s attitude.  If there is one thing public education could use, it’s a good old-fashioned attitude adjustment.  (I need to say here to assuage my own guilt at feeling like a traitor to my team:  It is not an easy job to educate publicly the future generation.  Not at all easy.  I will leave it at that for now.)  I have long held the assumption that if my lesson doesn’t go perfectly, the whole thing should go in the trash bin and I should start all over, by myself, from scratch.  But reading this article helped me to look at the experience of designing lessons and working through them as collaborative and experimental, and why not?  It is one of those things that as I type the words here makes so much sense, and I am left wondering why I hadn’t thought of it this way all along.  One of the people working with Khan said of experimenting,

‘It turns a liability of innovation into an incredible gift for students. They’re teaching them how to work in the 21st century workplace.’ In other words, sometimes you don’t break eggs to make a perfect omelet. Sometimes, the whole point is just breaking the eggs. (Tanz, 2015)
I love this attitude towards experimentation.  It speaks to many things we’ve been exploring in this class as well–the ideas surrounding project based learning and student centered learning, for example, as well as the critical importance of reflection after the lesson or unit is “done.”  I am very excited about this topic of curriculum and assessment, which is so fascinating because it was the one I thought I knew the most about when I set up my reading plan.  

Curriculum Design

Thompson, Ayana
CA-Who Decides
Manjee, A. (2017, February 6). Curriculum Design is Emotional Work—This Teacher Makes It Easier. Retrieved from
Summary: Highlights the exhausting business of creating curriculum from scratch, when pre-packaged curriculum and assessments that are purchased by school districts offer very little flexibility for personalization or modification.

Rating: I think teachers and teacher librarians can relate to the idea of creating curriculum to meet the needs of our changing educational environment.

What Teachers Need from Researchers

Mary Fobbs-Guillory


Saul, Roger. (2016) Education and the mediated subject: What today’s teacher’s need most from researchers of youth and media. Journal of Children and Media, 10(2). Pp.156-163

Roger Saul shares that the majority of today’s educators are still operating with archaic understanding of what young people are capable of and how to engage them in school.  He argues that researchers need to provide educators with a better understanding of their students’ potential to make meaningful contributions to their education.  He also shares that teachers may not realize they are marginalizing their students by not allowing students the opportunity to explore their identity and express themselves as they learn in school.

Saul has offers a balanced perspective in his argument as he shares that teachers too are regulated and may not have the autonomy to change how they address students needs.  He shares that districts need to trust teachers more and allow them to do what research says is best for students.  This was interesting to read as an educator because I often felt that in district schools, teacher’s don’t have much of a voice and they have to do what they are told or else find a new school to work at.  It is encouraging that some people see the need to empower teachers who can in turn empower students to be more involved and engaged in their education.

This Library is Going to the Dogs

Martin, Jeanette
ET – New Trends

Cottrell, M. (2017). Library Waggin’ Train: Service dogs, therapy dogs, emotional support dogs: Which ones can come in? American Libraries,48(3/4), 24-25. Retrieved April 4, 2017, from

The article assists librarians in how to utilize service dogs in the library. It also explains the rights individuals have to bring their service dogs into the library and the rights the library has in questioning the owner of the animal. Many people buy a service vest for the animal to bring them into public places. Some animals have not been trained and can become a safety and health hazard. The law explains that a librarian can ask an owner of a dog if it is a service animal and what kind of service the dog provides to its owner. The law does not permit one to ask for a certificate or a letter to verify this.

Studies have shown the benefits animals animals can have on people. We are the largest school in the district with special needs kids. Twice a year a service dog comes into our schools library to provide emotional support to our students. It is very soothing to our students and gives our teachers a piece of mind that the students are calm. My son, while he was in college, had the opportunity to cuddle with service dogs during finals. It calmed him down so much he asked me to bring his dog on campus during finals week.

Legislation Influences Curriculum Development

Alpers, Jessica

CA-Curriculum Assessment

Robinson, G. (1961). Legislation Influences Curriculum Development.Educational Leadership, 19, 26-30.

Summary: This article begins with a discussion on how “authority for regulating both the content and conduct of public education in the United States resides in the state legislatures.” Most states have given power to the school boards, however. These bodies all give input in what subject matter is taught in public schools, especially in history, health, and safety. These bodies also set rules to prohibit the teaching of certain subjects, such as subjects that are religious in Utah or the facts of birth control in Michigan. The discussion continues by describing how some states set lists of subjects that must be taught, then gives a history of how curriculum legislation evolved in the first half of the 20th century. The second half of the article gives a long discussion about financing and finance legislation.

Evaluation: While this article is over 50 years old, I believe is gives some good information. It is a good article for beginning research in this area as it gives good background knowledge. I felt that the finance section was a bit off topic, but that is because I was primarily looking for information about curriculum and subject matter. The discussion was still very informative.

The Every Student Succeeds Act: An ESSA Overview

Hudson, Evelyn


Klein, A. (2016, March 31). The every student succeeds act: An ESSA overview. Retrieved from

This article gives an excellent overview of the ESSA for those who are unfamiliar with it. The article breaks down the ESSA into different parts such as “Accountability Goals” and “Testing” to clearly explain the coming changes. There are also videos in several sections for those who need additional explanation.
As someone who knew nothing about the ESSA before this course, I feel much more knowledgeable after reading this article. I appreciated the use of text and videos to really drive the concepts home.