Friday, June 15, 2007

025.1 School Library Administrators: Always Learning, Day 3

"Never stand in the way of a school librarian on a mission."

Gloria Meraz from TLA has come to chat about things.

Databases--great first step on getting what we want, the way we want. She applauded the effect of the letters and other communications on the outcome. "The absolute credit goes to you." "You all are awesome."

She feels the whole library community has now come to embrace school libraries and their issues and the support from the other groups is there.

She feels the political tide has changed somewhat...long standing concerns --staffing and presence in TEA should be looked at and improved. There is a long "corporate" memory with the legislative staffers who are often there longer than the actual legislators. She feels this memory will be to our benefit.

Audience comment about the confusion of the original amount of money spent on databases seems to be cleared up. Several people are getting the correct facts together. A little over 2 million was spent on databases thru TLC in 2003 and the rest of the 4 million was the catalog--an item that is NOT a part of this new deal. So the money seems to be equal or a little better.

There is great understanding of the pressure we are under with school starting. She feels the state library, etc. will do the best they can to meet the deadlines to the best of their ability and lessen the impact on us.

Library programs are built on collaboration and it isn't always a polite process. It takes lots of discussion and push and pull to get to the point that is the best for the most. [Have seen a lot of that the past few days!!]

We should consider ourselves lucky that we have two "homes"--both appropriate for us. There are things TEA can do best for us and there are things the State Library can do best for us. A sort of summer/ winter home arrangement! [thanks BB!]

Staffing and certification is a major issue. She is not sure they will come up in the next session, but the work can certainly start now.

The political reality is that any of our requests must be based on things we know can get attention and funding. We could ask for anything, the reality is that some issues will make more progress than others. It does not lessen the importance of the other issues. We don't like unfunded mandates, but sometimes that is a place to start in a fiscally conservative state.
Audience comment--we need to show the effect of our impact...use the measure of our success in making kids successful. A related comment--the TSLAC sunset review study ...who is going to hear the result of the study? What will happen to the info, where will it go? How will it be used? "Our TSLAC commissioner" read the wording of who will get the report, the deadline etc. to the group to aid in answering these concerns. Gloria said yes, that is a beginning and we will do even more with the info. From another commenter: Another way to use the info will be to take the results thru the administrative route...share with principals, superintendents, etc. groups showing the positive effects of how libraries impact student success. Gloria reemphasized the need to work together with all these groups and use all these avenues in the good way that we can.

It is critical that we thank the legislators. A quick laundry list: Kolkhorst, Branch, Zaffirini, Duncan, Chisum, Ogden [she will send the list for our communications link so watch for it]

We need to send them info about the info is being used successfully with the kids. Be sure and promote these resources. Get the principal, teachers to write to say thanks. An audience participant said use visual reminders--kids using the resources and the results.

A cautionary comment from several--be sure the training is there. The last time some schools didn't use them because they don't know how. We don't want that to happen this time. Five years later, the base of knowledge in using these types of resources is better. But there is work to be done. Let's work together. Use the technology to share the info.

She expressed thanks from TEA for the support this group gives to get the message out. Every little bit helps!

SB 1788-- distance ed for K-12, primarily high school, in partnership with higher ed. There is a clause for instructional materials and online resources. This can tie-in with the online resources issue and the study coming up. Audience participant--some states have virtual school programs (taking at least one course online) mandated as part of graduation...he knows it is coming for Texas as well. Another mentioned that we really need to be sure "libraries" are truly a part of this partnership...not just represented by online resources.

HB2930-- did not pass. Had to do with exemptions on science room & library size.

Sen. Patrick's bill-- trying to get 65% rule put into went no where.

Dutton's bill-- putting libraries and services into the accountability system...went no where, not even to committee discussion.

It's break time!! One last opportunity for that all-important verbal networking.

Post break includes some letter writing information--who we need to thank for many things. The information is on our wiki.
We are now reviewing our thoughts of yesterday's regional discussions on what we want regarding the databases and what we want from our two new homes (see above!) Lots of talk on standards and getting "teeth" to them...mandating wishes... All this information will be on the TASLA blog so comments can be made. Please comment.

Based on a comment, apparantly the 65% rule has been tweaked...and not necesarily for our good. Gloria gave an explanation [most of which I lost in translation (to my brain) so I'm going to have to do some research to be sure I'm up-to-date.]

A bit of housekeeping and ...tick, tock...That's it folks! It's been real and it's be fun...real fun!
Hasta la vista!

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