School Librarian Leadership

Felix Davila III
IL
ROOTS LEWIS, ,KATHRYN. (2016). The school librarian and leadership what can be learned? (cover story). Teacher Librarian, 43(4), 18-21. Retrieved from http://libaccess.sjlibrary.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com.libaccess.sjlibrary.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lih&AN=114825283&site=ehost-live&scope=site
Roots Lewis discusses key methods of positioning oneself in the best way to achieve success within the school environment through harnessing leadership traits and practices. She focuses on three major steps that can shift librarians into a positive direction. She highlights consistent research as a major key, noting that understanding trends, changes, resources and advancements informs and prepares practice. She acknowledges that relationships with the principal are crucial. Knowing that librarian goals are in line with the principals mindset can do wonders for progress. She is also a proponent for “highlighting” one’s program, not being afraid to sort of brag or at least showcase what the library does. This all combines to show the library can be important and a difference maker.

I appreciated Roots Lewis’ take mainly because I have seen it first hand. At my job, the principal is incredibly supportive of our efforts and enjoys that the library staff is passionate about work. In addition, our work is constantly displayed or highlighted in faculty emails and newsletters, to not only show what work is done, but to show that the principal fully backs what is done as well. This article was very important to me, as it reminds us to consider how much librarians can positively impact their own situations.
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Roys, Kelly

Heider, K. L. (2009). Information Literacy: The missing link in early childhood education. Early Childhood Education Journal: Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. doi: 10.1007/s10643-009-0313-4

Summary: Heider’s research focuses on the necessity of early education to focus on reading to learn instead of learning to read with the assistance of greater informational texts. The library media specialist is a critical component as she argues that quality school library programs are advantageous in the learning environment. She describes three models of planning and reflection for the educators to ensure deeper learning.

Evaluation:  The article stresses the importance of Common Core learning standards and Library Instruction and Program Standards. It is important to see how the reflection process plays a part in learning and teaching. The idea of the models provides context for how to begin thinking about constructivist theory in education.

SC Study Shows Link Between School Librarians and Higher Test Scores

SC Study Shows Link Between School Librarians and Higher Test Scores

Alison Dinicola

IL CA

Gavigan, K. & Lance, K.C. (2016). SC study shows link between school librarians and higher test
scores. School Library Journal.  http://www.slj.com/2016/03/literacy/sc-study-shows-link-between-school-librarians-and-higher-test-scores/#_

Summary:
This article discusses the importance of school librarians and libraries on student success on tests. South Carolina Association of School Librarians (SCASL) worked with RSL Research Group, in 2013, on a study showing the importance of school librarians and library programs. This study documented how school libraries have added to the success of students on test for English language arts (ELA) and writing standards. Data was taken from results of the South Carolina Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (PASS) for elementary and middle schools, and South Carolina High School Assessment Program (HSAP). Schools, with full-time librarians and at least one assistant, either full-time or part-time, had students that showed more strength and less weakness on PASS writing standards. Higher spending on libraries showed significant strengths on student test achievements. This study showed that collaboration between librarians and teachers help students develop “information literacy skills.” The schools that excelled had 20 or more hours of librarian instruction. Study, also, found that this successful schools had an overall checkout of 20,00 items or 36 checkouts per student. Other areas of data were on collection size for both books and ebooks, access to computers, and frequency of library visits. School administrators found that library visits that were based on needs as compared to fixed times were more effective on students’ success. High achieving schools had 4 or more library visit per week in elementary and middle schools, and 15 or more visits in high schools. Administrators valued the library policies and practices and saw school librarians as having a leadership role at their schools.

Review:
I found this article up-lifting in that it showed how important school libraries and librarians are to the success of any type of school, elementary, middle, or high school. Many districts and states feel that a school library can be run by anyone on the staff. However, this article showed that professional librarians are essential to a high achieving school. In the school district I work at, library assistant have been cut back due to the budget and one librarian could be working at several schools within one week. In fact, I work at 3 different schools over 3 1/2 days of a week. This article showed how important a library and an assistant is to each school. Having a librarian onsite all week, working along side the teachers, gives students the structure and support they need to meet today’s 21st Century Skills. This article reinforces the concepts Dr. Loertscher teaches of coteaching and collaborating between librarians and teachers. The more we work together the more our students will succeed. I appreciated the administrators that felt their librarians were the center of their schools success. This article is a great resource in support of school libraries and librarians for successful schools, teachers, and students.

The information-seeking behavior of grade-three elementary school

Kari Nelson
IL
REFERENCE
Nesset, V. (2009). The informationseeking behavior of gradethree elementary school students. Proceedings of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 46(1), 1-3.
SUMMARY
Nesset discuss the importance of introducing and experiencing print and electronic sources from a young age. From this study, information seeking in the elementary school is represented in a three phase model: preparing, searching and using.  The preparing stage being the direct instruction of needed vocabulary and steps to complete the process.  The searching stage being the physical action of searching and the using stage is applying what the students learned.  Information seekers in elementary schools need exposure to the three phases early so they can build upon them in upper grades.

EVALUATION

I liked how this article shows that young students are ready to be educated in information seeking. As an educator, I see that children such as kindergarten and 1st grade don’t complete research because it is “too difficult”. This article shows that we are in a time where they have been prepared for technology and just need the opportunity to have experience with it.

A Collaborative Approach to Implementing 21st Century Skills In A High School Senior Research Class

Bullard, Sherrie
IL, CO

O’Sullivan, M. K., & Dallas, K. B. (2010). A Collaborative approach to implementing 21st Century skills in a High school senior research class. Education Libraries, 33(1), 3-9.

Summary:
In this article the authors discuss that businesses and higher education leaders are looking for students with the ability to evaluate and analyze information and to use this information to solve real-world problems. These are the information literacy skills students need for the 21st century. However, several recent studies on the ability of college freshmen to handle the rigor of college courses and research indicate that high school students are not being adequately prepared to apply these skills. The authors provide a case study of a collaborative effort between an English teacher and the high school librarian to better prepare high school seniors on how to locate reliable information, analyze the information and then determine how it can be applied to solving a real world issue or problem.
This article focuses on how a high school research paper class, as an example, can be designed and structured to give high school seniors an opportunity to experience what college level research and writing involves.
High school students need to be taught these sophisticated “higher-order” skills, such as the ability to locate and analyze complex information in order to solve real world problems.


Evaluation:

This class is not just about writing a longer research paper (10 to 15 pages). The intent of this class is to introduce high school seniors to what it is like to search a subject in depth, to formulate research questions and develop curiosities that go beyond the basic facts of a topic. By breaking the research paper process into a series of steps with individual, specific due dates, the teacher has been able to stress the importance of time management and developing effective work habits. These skill, in addition to the research skills involved, are critical for seniors as they prepare to make the transition to college. They also use the teacher librarian to help teach these skills. It’s like they took a “Bird Unit” and turned it into a “Big Think”!

Academic Skills on the Web Are Tied to Income Level

Poundstone, Heather
IL

Rich, M.  (2014). Academic skills on web are tied to income level.  The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/24/us/academic-skills-on-web-are-tied-to-income-level.html?_r=2
Summary:
Rich explores research showing that wealthy students are more likely to achieve better results on tests than poor students.   It goes onto further explain that with the advent of the Internet, new research has found that poorer students have a harder time than their wealthier peers in using information literacy skills to find information.   This research was done by Donald J. Leu for the Reading Research Quarterly, using a small sample of students.  It shows that all students lack information literacy skills, but there is a wider gap between wealthy students and their poor counterparts.  The research shows that while students may be tech savvy and able to use the Internet for social media, they are unable to access reliable information.   The research focused on seventh-graders from two Connecticut middle schools, analyzing their test scores and information literacy assessments.   Students who came from homes from a higher socio-economic status exhibited skills somewhat more than an extra school year’s worth of online reading ability compared to students from a middle class background.    The researchers were unable to study students from a lower socio-economic status.  Rich explains that information literacy skills are necessary for students to be successful in school and beyond.  He further explains that most teachers do not teach these important skills due to the fact that they misunderstand their importance and how these skills can be used in education.  They also assume that students can navigate the internet to meet their information needs.    The research also found that students in the lower income school were required to use the internet for school assignments 22% less than their wealthier peers.   Even though the wealthier students spent more time on the Web finding information, when assessed as to whether they could determine the reliability of facts on a web page, only 25% were able to do so.  16% of the lower income students were able to complete the same assignment.  The research found that the gap between these student’s skills was smaller than anticipated.   Some schools are expanding their information literacy instruction, but with the implementation of the Common Core Standards, many are concentrating on text based learning.   Teachers do not realize that students have difficulty evaluating sources for reliability, whether it is textual or digital.  Both are important and should be taught.   

Evaluation:
From my readings that I have completed in the course of my time at SJSU, I was not surprised by the findings of this research.  Numerous research has pointed to the fact that most people have difficulty with information literacy skills, even graduate students.  I did expect there to be a gap between wealthier students and poor students due to the fact that wealthier students have far more opportunities to interact on the Web.  Having worked in inner city education for the past 16 years, I have seen the disadvantages that poor students face.  Most of them have limited access to technology and the Internet at home, come from backgrounds where their parents have limited education and are unable to help or motivate their children, and where children have few literacy opportunities at home.  I was somewhat surprised that wealthier students did not have better information literacy skills, but it proves the point that people are generally overconfident in their ability to find reliable information.  This is why teacher librarians are important and these skills should be taught from kindergarten on!   Imagine if every school had a teacher librarian and students were taught information literacy skills from day one.  Students would be information literacy experts by the time they graduated from high school and have the 21stCentury Skills they need to be successful!  I think that this article does a good job in pointing out the importance of teaching all students these valuable skills and hopefully school districts will start listening and make this a priority by hiring credentialed teacher librarians for every school!

Can Any School Foster Pure Creativity?

Shawn Pomatto

IL

Soling, C. (2014). Can any school foster pure creativity? Mind/Shift. Retrieved from http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fblogs.kqed.org%2Fmindshift%2F2014%2F03%2Fcan-creativity-truly-be-fostered-in-classrooms-of-today%2F%3Futm_source%3Dfeedburner%26utm_medium%3Demail%26utm_campaign%3DFeed%253A%2Bkqed%252FnHAK%2B%2528MindShift%2529&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNHR8pcR4DeAfPVpEWEozd3Dj7QxnQ

The question is how can we promote creativity in schools?  Studies show that creativity can lead to innovation and problem solving capabilities.  So how can we provide an environment which nurtures this type of growth?  The problem is that schools are designed around discipline and rigidity of rules enforcement. Standardized tests results try to suggest that creativity can be measured by a single number.  That is impossible.  Creativity is not designed to be defined by one single definition.  If we are to teach creativity in a school, then we must make fundamental changes in the way in which a school operates.  Creativity is reliant upon unconventional means.  it is the invention of something new and unique.  Therefore a school who doesn’t embrace differences, but instead relies upon maintaining order, may not be the right environment for fostering creativity.

What one needs to realize is that we cannot simplify change by only attacking curriculum.  We must also shake the very foundations from which schools are run.  Promoting creativity must be all inclusive and not merely specific to the confines of a classroom.  The entire school needs to comply with the movement in order to significantly make a difference in the lives and learning experiences of students.  Previous standards based tests frowned upon failure.  It was not o.k. to miss test questions.  When in reality, we learn best when we have experienced failure, as we now know what steps will bring us to failure, and which steps will bring us success.  Failure is a necessary step in the process of learning.  If we are to successfully promote creativity in schools, then we must be prepared to let some of the control escape our grasps, and allow that control to be embraced and facilitate by our students.