7 HCPS Librarians Nominated for VAASL’s School Librarian of the Year for the James Region–Pt.1

7 HCPS Librarians Nominated for VAASL’s School Librarian of the Year for the James Region–Pt.1

Henrico County Public Schools have a plethora of  wonderful librarians and seven of them have been nominated for VAASL’s School Librarian of the Year for the James Region.  The following is the first of multiple posts that includes questions and answers from each of them about the award.  Congratulations to them all and make sure to check back for the rest of the interviews!

 

Shannon Hyman

SHYMAN

Can you tell me about your library and what you believe are the best programs or lessons that you have done?

Our Library Learning Commons is a balance of physical and virtual spaces designed to cultivate a participatory, literate learning community with open, equal access. This community is reflected in the flexibly designed spaces, organized planning time for instructional teams to cultivate collaboration, a rich collection of print and digital resources, and exemplary instruction that leads to student-driven learning and lifelong reading.  Our LLC exemplifies innovative design principles as evidenced in the selection of furnishings that are flexible, durable, and developmentally appropriate.  It is a curious balance of two worlds: cozy, restful spaces for overly stimulated minds, and roomy areas that activate wonder, the exchange of ideas, and exploration.

Our MakerSpace is a space where people come together to tinker, create, and innovate. It is designed to give students a learning environment where they see their traditional role in the library as a “taker” (checking out books, consuming information) shifted to the role of “maker” (experimenting, tinkering, and creating using a variety of materials). It has been exciting and affirming to share our processes and successes with schools within our county and throughout the nation.

I partner with the principal to encourage students and staff to read independently to pursue personal and educational areas of interest and become enthusiastic readers, creating a culture of literacy. We have developed a school wide reading challenge based on the precepts from Donalyn Miller where ALL students work to reach developmentally appropriate, yet rigorous goals. We have literacy events intentionally spaced throughout the year to support and motivate student growth.  Examples of this include book tastings, a literature-based writing curriculum, the Virginia Reader’s Choice program for K-2 and 3-5, Book Blasts, 4th Grade Book Celebration, Read Across America, and our Summer Reading initiative.

Lessons I am most proud of this year include a 3rd grade PBL: A New Kind of Zoo, infused with rich, meaningful research. In this unit, anchored by the mentor texts The One and Only Ivan and Ivan a Shopping Mall Gorilla, we learned that animals in captivity require specific attention to physical, social and behavioral needs. When we choose to take animals from their natural environment, it is our responsibility as global citizens to design enclosures to meet their needs. This PBL fuses in depth research and the development of empathy toward animals and their humane treatment and conservation. Through their research, students were moved to action and became the voice for their animal. More examples of lessons can be accessed by clicking on the SHARE tab on my blog.

How long have you been a school librarian? 7 years

At your current school? 2 years

Why do you think you were nominated for the award?

I think my staff nominated me because they wanted to recognize my passion, work ethic, and impact in the development of our school culture of literacy.

What does the award mean to you? Being nominated is humbling and exhilarating at the same time! I am so blessed to work in a school district that values the mission and vision of AASL, and supports my efforts to transform teaching and learning.

Anything you else you want to say about your library, school, or the award.

I embrace my personal inclination to be an educational “hacker”. I think I find my best ideas by looking at the world and asking “What works well? What is good design?  How can that look in a school?”

 

Rebecca Hardin

RHARDIN

Can you tell me about your library and what you believe are the best programs or lessons that you have done?

I really think the best thing we do is develop trusting relationships with people. We listen, we work hard, and we produce. There is rarely a time when we can’t deliver what others want and what we promise. From creating a putt-putt golf course to help students with geometry to lessons on Holocaust rescuers, as well as Capstone Projects about changing the community for the better, the library is the place that makes all this happen

Each year several classes create a community based service project based on the All Henrico Reads novel/writer: The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani – The students held a shoe drive for local charities; Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-Eyed Stranger by Lee Smith – the students collected new and used books to donate to local programs; and Leaving Atlanta by Tayari Jones – the students are working with community partners to share best practices for child safety.

How long have you been a school librarian? At your current school?

This is my sixth year as a librarian and my fourth year at Glen Allen High School.

Why do you think you were nominated for the award?

I think I was nominated because the teachers at Glen Allen value what we do here in the library. We are the GO TO people in the building for almost everything. We are truly the heart of what is going on here at Glen Allen with so much happening in here every day. Staff and faculty come to the library for all their needs: help with planning events; finding the information they need – educationally and socially; planning lessons; gathering sources for lessons; researching topics; help with problem students, parents, staff; and so much more. We are also a haven for many students on a daily basis. Students are in our library starting at 8 a.m. continuing all day, asking for help, studying, doing research, reading, meeting with friends, needing someone to talk to, etc. We also have a packed house during lunches with all types of students filling the library. Some students eat and chat with friends, some read, do homework, work on projects. They just love it in here…and that makes us happy.

What does the award mean to you?

The award would mean that we are doing something right! We are doing what is wanted and needed by staff and students…and people are noticing. This is truly a team effort, and we want people to see how much we can do to make this the library everyone loves and appreciates.

Anything you else you want to say about your library, school, or the award.

We love what we do here at GAHS! The collaboration we do with several teachers and disciplines makes what we do so great!

Christina Stewart

CSTEWART

Can you tell me about your library and what you believe are the best programs or lessons that you have done?

  1. At Pocahontas our mission is to prepare students for their tomorrow.  We do that by-
  • Experience instruction in a varied and engaging learning atmosphere- I do this by collaborative planning, using a variety of technology resources, differentiation of instruction, and getting students to have a personal connection (One Book, One School and having Jordan Sonnenblick visit). I severed an important role of picking the book, and writing the curriculum that is used school wide. I also had the author of Rites of Passage author, Joy Hensley visit in October of this school year.  I offer a variety of lesson for all learners (visual, audio, and kinesthetic).  I use a variety of software such as Google docs, One Note notebook, Skype, SchoolSpace, Slates/ActiveInspire, Podcast, Active Engage
  • Motivate students to expand their knowledge through creativity and collaboration- Student driven learning, group work, cross curricular projects (using maps for Social Studies in English lesson),Team Building with outside classroom activities (Top Chef, Project Hawk way, Board Games, Puzzles, Open access to the library during Study Hall and Lunch time).
  • Inspire students to reach their potential and beyond- Each year we have a Curriculum Carnival where the library will share what students have done to uprising 5th graders, I promote and advertise events in the Hawk Flyer, I will post information on the school website. Prior to the morning announcements I will run videos for upcoming events that are library related.  I am also the co-sponsor of Project Blue, which is our student leadership club. Will all students to participate in contest.  I did a BookFace photography contest.

 

How long have you been a school librarian? At your current school?

I’m currently at Pocahontas Middle School.  I have been here the last five years.  I became a Librarian in 2009 when I split between Elko and Hungary Creek.

Why do you think you were nominated for the award?

Honestly, I was very shocked, excited and very honored.  The past two years we have been doing the One Book, One School program and I have worked actively to help with picking the book, writing the curriculum and creating fun activities.  I try to be creative in my planning of lessons and special events.  Recently, I worked on Project Hawkway, which was where students created outfits out of brown bags.  Here is the link to the video- http://henrico.k12.va.us/hcpstv/Internal/I-HawkWay.html

What does the award mean to you?

It’s recognition for what I am doing in the library/classroom.  It is also validation that Pocahontas Middle in my opinion has one of the best staff.  They support each other, look out for one another and really keeping the students as our number one priority. On a personal note, it is confirmation that I have chosen the right career for me.

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