The day is starting with a collaboration example where a new principal and librarian, Deana Harrell, and Debra Marshall, at Wilson Elementary School in Coppell ISD, have worked to change the reading culture of the school. In her first action, the principal replaced two paraprofessional with an elementary during her first year, a very emotional change for the teachers because she let two long-time support people go. From a couple of questions in the audience about why she made the change, she stated she had to overcome Robin Hood induced decisions and her personal history of the love of books and reading as the reasons behind the huge emotional change for the campus.
Other changes that allowed the Librarian to interact included monthly meetings for professional dialog and planning feedback called "Meet and Model on Mondays" where the Librarian worked with different grade levels. Faculty meetings also had reading, literacy components—Librarian presented staff development on things like TeachingBooks.net, World Book, Nettrekker
The Librarian & principal had to meet with the tech dept to get additions like Nettrekker added. The Librarian is part of leadership team and the school has a united agenda before school starts
The principal removed the points-based reading program and she presented another way to instruct children in reading: change in library brought change in the culture of the whole school.
Teachers concerns—what grades & accountability?
Students – can I read anything I want?
Parents & community – will my child still be reading? The principal worked very closely with PTA to bring them on board...research, informal conversation over lunch, one-on-one office meetings.
What they did this year to develop the culture of readers:
The emphasis was on activities for reading for pleasure including:
Book character parade
Grant for book clubs – BookWORMS; used moms as club leaders; principal, asst. principal monitor in 4 & 5 grades
one of the book clubs is continuing in summer at B&N
Charlotte’s Web Literacy Night – stations, used passports for recording...kissing pig principal
Author visit – Rick Riordan [his blog]– even parents had a breakfast—again the whole community
Author visit – Rochelle Strauss [her myspace]…a science based experience to help with science scores….an opportunity of collaboration example
Author visit – Kate McMullan for the younger children...another collaboration opp with the teachers
Dr. Seuss Week
Bluebonnet Program – increased voting from 10% to 35%
Reading buddies – collaboration between 2nd graders and 8th graders and nonfiction books
The principal mentioned that even the kids discussed what was their "schema"-- they know the word…critical thinking skills are up (general test scores are good, but can be better!)
There was a laundry list of good results from all of this activity...more parental involvement, more dollars for the library, a five-year plan for library, student library advisory committee, Friends Group for the district level, appointment of Debra as Head Librarian for the district (which allowed for part-time clerical help at her campus)...and integrated lessons with the teachers and classes...at the teachers' requests!
ok...break time! Wonder what is in the goodie bag today?