Wednesday, June 11, 2008

025.1 TASLA Day 1: The Fun Begins

My fifth year at what has turned out to be one of my favorite things to do with regards to this fun job I have (and my second year to blog it). State-wide Library administrators, lead librarians, and generally all-around good folks who work (and work hard) to bring good Library experiences to kids! We are having an ice-breaker to meet each other. It is good for me because I am terrible with names. I know all these people's faces, but names escape me. I will try to "know" my clock buddies from this point forward. I really will try! Thanks Mary, yes, I grumbled, but it was important for us (and me especially) to do this.

I will expand on the results of our first small group session later. It is worth its own post!

Collaboration & Curriculum - A Principal & Librarian's Story Corpus Christi ISD
Josie Alvarez, the principal, spoke first. It does need to be a partnership. It is a team effort made up of many people. But the Librarian has to be part of the team. Physically, in their school, the library is the hub. It is in the center where everyone see the action!

The Librarian, Molly Wyatt, is well-trained in flexible scheduling and open access. At first she was worried about the wide-open-ness of the new facility. Now she calls it heaven...a perfect place to work and learn their skills for the kids. The kids do their own book check out. 5-6 classes at a time! The kids are not bothered by open halls...it is part of the culture. It has taken 8 years to get to this point.

Principal Alvarez : "People without a vision, perish."
She talked about the book Rainbow Fish...the primadonna fish had lots but didn't share. Her first librarian was not what she expected. The old "this is MY library" philosophy. It took her five year to find the right person at her first school. Molly is just the opposite!

In her new school, the campus did some work with inquiry-discovery learning. Together as a staff they took a class over this. All must become facilitators in the kids' learning. The Librarian is part of the instructional planning committee, learns the scope and sequence as it changes.

Science was an issue immediately. Among the many things the Librarian did was to go thru her opening day collection and looked at what would work for science. She also has developed a professional collection that has basically been paid for from extra funds, not the regular library budget.

A portion of the library became the needed science lab...training started on how to use and respect. There is a science parents' night. Molly talked with the parents about how to work with their kids for the science fair.

In math, Molly did a lot of work finding literature tie-ins for math lessons. She also models lessons. Instead of tutoring a few kids in reading, Molly did enrichment with the larger groups of successful kids, while the classroom teacher works with the struggling students. She did an collaborative lesson with art over the Little House books and quilting. Her Wildflower reading program brings the parents into the reading circle of success as well. They also have Treasure reading lists of classics for every grade. 60,000 books circulated for 500+ kids.

Molly has had a assistant off and on..not every year...300 parents are patrons and a strong volunteer group.

Principal Alvarez was asked: what happened to you that made you aware that this is what you wanted in a Librarian? She first said the bad experience of having to work with someone who would not change and not be open. Then she spoke about what does an administrator want to have happen in their school...training on collaboration and vision.

Basically, listening to this presentation, it boils down to the people involved...a principal who recognizes the essential place of the Librarian and a Librarian who is willing to do what it takes to make success happen!

Ok, it's break time...and in this group...that means food!.....and now even more bonding with these fine people.

2 comments:

Library Girl said...

This is so awesome and inspiring. I am so worried about not having a job in 3 years that I can't even imagine what it would be like to have a principal who really values the Library as the center of the school and takes such an active role in encouraging a dynamic library program. Kudos to both of these people, along w/ the parents and volunteers who support the program with not only their words and funding, but their PRESENCE!!!

mmw said...

great job, vwb! i appreciate your report on the program. it's almost as good as being there!