7 HCPS Librarians Nominated for VAASL’s School Librarian of the Year for the James Region- PT. 3

7 HCPS Librarians Nominated for VAASL’s School Librarian of the Year for the James Region- PT. 3

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 third and final post 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!

See Part 1 here  and Part 2 here .

Brooke Davis

Brooke Davis

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

My library is very active all day long.  Our busiest times are for the hour before school and during all three lunches when students come in to work, read and socialize.  The rest of the day ebbs and flows as classes come in and out. Each month we have a contest and a program that promotes reading, literacy and fun.  Our student book club and library aids help us to create colorful displays that rotate seasonally.

My best lessons are the ones that are interactive and have lots of hands on components. I have developed station lessons that use iPads, arts and crafts, vocabulary and non-fiction articles to go along with many of the major units taught in our English 9 classes.  I really enjoy creating hands on science lessons for the alternative SOLs (VAAPS) for our exceptional education classes. One of my favorite lessons this year was a lesson on creating a budget using Excel and real world data.  I taught this lesson  for ROTC students as they began to plan for their lives in the military. They seemed to get a lot out of the lesson and asked amazingly insightful questions.

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

I have been a school librarian for 9 years. All of these years have been at Varina High School.

Why do you think you were nominated for the award?

I think I was nominated for the award because I have mentored so many new librarians in our county officially and unofficially.  Kim Morrison nominated me and she is one the people I encouraged to start library classes at Longwood and later to take on a leadership role in VAASL. We have worked closely together for more than 12 years.

What does the award mean to you?

The nomination is humbling. I truly feel like I just do what I am supposed to do as a school librarian and I am always striving to improve my program based on best practices. It is nice to be recognized for my efforts, however, and I will never forget some of the kind words people have said to me.

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

I would not have such a successful library program if it was not for the contributions of my co-librarians Virginia Brown and Honor Zalewski.  In the secondary library, it is truly a team effort.  I have also been fortunate to have some wonderful assistants – Amy Coward, Anita Tarbox and Kaitlin Dunnevant. My principals Tracie Omohundro and Ann Marie Seely have been extremely supportive of my attempts to get grants and start new initiatives. VAASL has also been very important in my success. I have learned so much from others in the James Region and throughout the state at conferences and in publication.

 

Update:  Brooke won the award.  For more on that, click here.  Congratulations Brooke!

 

Deanna Hamlin

deannahamlin

 

Deanna Hamlin is in her 8th year as the librarian at Ruby F. Carver Elementary.  We recently highlighted her Read Across America/ Dr. Seuss events on our blog and you can click here to read about them on her blog.   Here is what Deanna had to say about her library, her goals and role within the school, and being nominated for the award:

“In many ways, effective communication begins with mutual respect, communication that inspires, and encourages others to do their best.”– Zig Ziglar

As an elementary school librarian, I have the unique pleasure of making a difference in the academic progress of all students.   This challenge is enthusiastically embraced, and it is accomplished through building relationships.   Trust has to be built with administrators, teaching faculty, parents and students.  A team can have talented players, but if those players do not work as a team embracing mutual respect, cooperation, communication and common goals, the team may experience limited success.  To inspire one must first built trust and respect.

My goal is to encourage critical thinking and knowledge growth through authentic, hands-on learning, integrating real-life connections. As a fellow teacher I collaborate with grade-level teams to integrate their curriculum into library lessons.

As the Zig Ziglar quote at the beginning implies . . . to inspire and encourage others, we must be able to communicate, but communication begins with respect. It is my objective to create a haven and a climate of mutual respect whether it be students, parents, teachers or administrators.  It is my personal mission to create an accessible, non-threatening space where students, parents, faculty and administrators feel welcome.  Student engagement, learning and growth are immediately evident to all visitors.  As librarians know, research studies continue to substantiate the positive impact a well-staffed school library has on student learning.  It is my goal to make sure that is obvious in the Ruby F. Carver library.

 

Congratulations to all of our nominees and wonderful teacher librarians!

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Brooke Davis named 2015 VAASL James Region L.O.Y.

Brooke Davis named 2015 VAASL James Region L.O.Y.

 

Congratulations to Brooke Davis, librarian at Varina High School, for winning the 2015 Virginia Association of School Librarians (VAASL) James Region Librarian of the Year.   She was presented the award at the VAASL James Region March 11th spring conference at J. Sargent Reynolds Community College.  The James Region consists of 19 counties in central and south central Virginia as well as the City of Richmond.

Brooke was one 18 Librarians nominated for the award and was nominated by her principal, Ann Marie Seely.  Jackie Breidenbach, librarian at Redd Elementary School (Richmond Public Schools) and the presenter of the award, stated “It was a daunting task to work our way through all 18 very highly qualified contenders.” Brooke was the unanimous selection for the award.  She serves as a member on her school leadership team and advocacy committee and is active within VAASL, serving in various capacities.

The theme of the conference this year was “The Library: the Heart of the School” and one would be hard pressed to find a librarian that exemplifies this motto better than Brooke.  One of her references referred to Brooke as the “center of the Library” just as the library is the center of the school.  Breidenbach stated “Since this teacher took control of the library in her school, book circulation has tripled, library visits have soared, and she continues to generate interest in the library by using monthly contests, reading promotion programs with light refreshments, and even getting the student book club to take part in developing ideas for things and events that would bring in other, more reluctant readers.”  She also quoted a Varina student’s essay on the importance of the library in their high school experience, “I sum up my high school career in one sentence, ‘I lived in the Library’.”

Briedenbach also highlighted how Brooke was able to transform an old library into a premiere school library program, reaches out to all students and staff at the school and uses grants, book exchanges and donations to improve the library.  She sums it up like this: “she has worked hard to promote the library by examining the needs of this particular school and determining how best to promote the library in a way to meet those needs.”

BrDavis

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7 HCPS Librarians Nominated for VAASL’s School Librarian of the Year for the James Region–Pt.2

7 HCPS Librarians Nominated for VAASL’s School Librarian of the Year for the James Region–Pt.2

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 second 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!

See Part 1 here:

Scott Mewborn

SMEWBORN

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

Our library has been functioning for over 50 years in this building. We have a lot of room, and that, plus the age of the facility, left us with quite a weeding job when we made that a priority about 3 years ago. We now have a more modern and aligned non-fiction section, and that, plus our work in fiction, has produced a more relevant collection of about 8,000 books.

One really fun cross-curricular sequence of instruction that we do involves our Humanities 7th graders. They read Rocket Boys/October Sky by Homer Hickam with their Language A teachers. Their pacing guide for Humanities introduces the Cold War historical era while they are reading that, which fills in the back story on the book they’re reading. With their great physical science teachers, they design and build rockets that we launch on the front lawn of the school in the spring. The library gets to work with these students to tie the whole cross curricular unit together, through research, and note-taking and citation lessons. It’s great fun, hands-on, product oriented, and lets the library work with 300 kids over several weeks. Plus, how many library units end with a rocket launch?

How long have you been a school librarian? At your current school? I have worked for HCPS for 18 years, and the last 8, the best 8, have been serving as a school librarian at Moody Middle School.

Why do you think you were nominated for the award? Having a strong relationship with your building principal is huge. I’ve been very lucky to have worked with several principals who understand the value that the library program and library staff can add to the school. With that kind of buy-in, a school librarian is given an opportunity to shine. My principal believes in me, believes in our results, and felt motivated to let other people know what he thinks about Moody’s library program, so he decided to nominate me for the award.

What does the award mean to you? Being nominated is a humbling process. You are called upon to detail your methods and others are asked to write about you, as well. To me, it means a lot, because it is an affirmation of what I try to accomplish professionally in my school library. The list of nominees looks like a bunch of Henrico school library superstars, and it means a lot to see my name on that list this year.

Anything you else you want to say about your library, school, or the award. It is important to note that I’d get very little done if I didn’t have my co-librarian, Lenora Dinunzi. We each have strengths and interests in different areas, and that’s how we cover the needs of 1,050 students and 50 teachers. Lenora and I are very lucky to work with an extremely competent library assistant, Mrs. Beverley Dale. Beverley’s experience as a middle and high school English teacher provides the library staff, teachers, and students a great resource in many important areas. We make a great team.​

Debbie Teague

DTEAGUE

 

I am in my twelfth year as the librarian at Holladay E.S.  Being nominated for School Librarian of the Year by my principal has been a tremendous honor.  It was such an affirmation to me of the goals that I am striving to meet at Holladay E.S.  I care deeply for the students at Holladay and I want them to succeed.  I do all that I can to help them enjoy literature and reading because reading is an essential part of life.  Because I love what I do, time has flown during the eighteen years that I have been teaching as an elementary school librarian.

I especially enjoy helping students develop their research skills.  This starts in kindergarten where I model research with the students and as a group we seek to research answers to some basic questions.  In first grade, the process progresses where the students become somewhat more independent in their research.  During lessons, I ask the students to think about what it is that they would like to know about a particular subject.  They begin to formulate their own questions. There needs to be constant development of questioning skills.   I was so encouraged this year with some students’ questions, when after reading the Virginia Readers’ Choice book Lucky Ducklings by Eva Moore, a student asked an unsolicited question about ducks.  He wondered, “How do ducks eat?”  We had been addressing some other elements in the story, but I was so excited to see that he was coming up with his own question, and it was not the typical easy question like “What do ducks eat?”  In another class a student wondered, “How do ducks swim?”  It is very rewarding to me to see the students grow in questioning skills and then be able to teach them how to find answers to their questions in reliable sources as the research process unfolds for them.

Reading Olympics is a program that the library runs for all of our fourth and fifth grade students.  The children are placed on teams and then they work together to collectively read from a list of 30 books.  The students must each read five books to be in the competition in the spring.  My assistant and I so enjoy seeing the students get excited about reading, and we love this program because all of our students have an opportunity to participate.

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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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Rivers Edge Librarian Named to AASL Board

Rivers Edge Librarian Named to AASL Board

Congratulations to Kathleen Roberts, librarian at Rivers Edge Elementary School, on being named to the American Association of School Librarians (AASL)  Standards and Guidelines Editorial Board.  Roberts, along with the six other members, will work to evaluate and revise the learning standards and program guidelines for the AASL.  Here is an excerpt from the press release from the AASL:

Kathleen Roberts is the school librarian at Rivers Edge Elementary School, part of the Henrico (Virginia) County Public Schools. Roberts was the 2013 AASL sponsored ALA Emerging Leader and has served in various roles for the association. She co-presented at the AASL Fall Forum with Ann Martin focusing on the role of the school librarian as a leader. Also with Martin, Roberts co-wrote the article, “Digital Native Does Not Equal Digital Literacy,” which appeared in Principal, the journal for the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

The evaluation and revision of AASL’s learning standards and program guidelines is a critically important project to both the association and the profession. The publications offer a vision for teaching and learning which guide the profession as education leaders to transform learning (Habley).

The full press release can be read here.

The press release for Roberts and Martin’s article is here.

 

Habley, Jennifer. “AASL Names Members of Standards and Guidelines Editorial Board.” AASL Names Members of Standards and Guidelines Editorial Board. American Association of School Librarians, 3 Mar. 2015. Web. 04 Mar. 2015.

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Two HCPS Librarians Earn Teacher of the Year Recognition

Two HCPS Librarians Earn Teacher of the Year Recognition

Recently two HCPS librarians have been recognized by their schools for their contributions to their school communities.  Sara Young, librarian at Nuckols Farm Elementary, was named Teacher of the Year and Diane Strait, librarian at Springfield Park Elementary, was name First Year Teacher of the Year.  Congratulations to both of them!  Young is in her second year at Nuckol’s Farm and 6th year as a librarian.  Strait is in her first year at Springfield Park, but has spent the last 8 years as a Reading Intervention Instructor in Henrico.  Below, they each answer some questions about their respective awards.

 

Sara Young on being named Teacher of the Year:

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

A couple of the best programs we have in my library are the “Risky Reads” and Genre Club.  The children have really enjoyed the “Risky Reads,” which are books that are covered so they don’t know what they’re getting… it’s a risk!  Many students ask us daily for Risky Reads, and they seem to enjoy the “mystery” involved, which also forces them to try different types of books.  Genre Club is a 3rd grade program that gets the kids reading all the different genres.  There has been much excitement over this because they earn little “trading” type cards for each genre, and it really encourages them to try different types of books, as well as reinforces their knowledge of the genres.  As far as lessons go, I think some of my most effective and fun are the author studies I do with Kindergarten and first grades, where I incorporate different curricular skills in stations.  I do a lot of research activities with 3rd, 4th, and 5th, where they practice developing their own questions and using safe sites and the internet effectively.

Why do you think you were nominated for the award?

I am very fortunate that my faculty and staff recognize the many hats I wear as a librarian, and they consider me a teacher first and foremost.  Several have said to me in casual conversations that they don’t know how I do all the different things that accompany my role as librarian, and they have expressed how they appreciate the way I support them through lessons and providing materials and resources.  I believe they nominated me because they recognize my role as a teacher, partner, and resource for them.

What does the award mean to you?

This award means the world to me.  I feel blessed because it represents how my colleagues feel about my role among them and my work ethic.  I also feel very fortunate to work with a faculty who thinks highly of and positively about the work that I do each day.

 

Diane Strait on being named First Year Teacher of the Year

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

 The Springfield Park Elementary School library is a dynamic place in which over 700 students and staff are connecting to “stories” and information.  Our students come from scores of countries providing a delightful multi-cultural environment.  It is a place in which literature comes alive and research is “treasure hunting”. The best of children’s literature is creatively promoted.  This allows both students and staff to find their next “great” read.  With passion and excitement, students are empowered to become better inquirers, thinkers, researchers and readers.   Library lessons encourage student teamwork and hands-on learning. These lessons allow students to make discoveries, ask new questions, and share creative products.  This fuels my excitement as a school librarian. The SPES Library Assistant, Shari Galloway, is an invaluable part of our library.  She knows every student by name, helps students find “just right” books, pulls resources for teachers, and goes above and beyond to give input on library lessons.

Several best programs or lessons:

2nd grade Caldecott Club:  Students spent 4 weeks learning about Caldecott Award winning books.  They participated on a Mock Caldecott committee evaluating picture books.  Student pairs worked at 10 free choice Caldecott learning stations including Caldecott puzzles, making collage illustrations and finding Caldecott books using the online catalog.

3rd grade Author’s Purpose (persuasion):  Student pairs researched toys from the National Toy Hall of Fame website and played with these toys in the library.  They prepared a persuasive speech and presented their toy research in poster format.  Students voted Raggedy Ann & Andy dolls as the top toy they would add to their birthday wish list.

4th grade Planet Research:  Student pairs gathered information about “planets” using two databases and non-fiction books.  They then used I-Pads to search for “planet” books using the online catalog.  They took a “selfie” with the book they found.

Story Time for K & 1st:  I read “That Is Not a Good Idea” by Mo Willems.  The students performed the story using stick puppets for the goose, goslings and the fox.

Why do you think you were nominated for the award?

I think I was nominated for this award because my library lessons reflect my passion and enthusiasm for reading.  I love to collaborate with teachers. We develop creative lessons that cover SOL content and encourage students to love to read, ask questions and research.  I have involved parents, students, and staff in reading events by hosting a parent read aloud evening, a children’s author visit and a community event at Barnes & Noble Bookstore.

What does the award mean to you?

It is a great honor to be nominated.  It affirms my love for teaching, reading, and learning.  It encourages me to continue to create a library environment that is dynamic and fun.

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

I love to go to work every day at Springfield Park Elementary School. A big “thank you” to the excellent teachers and staff, generous parent volunteers and eager students who make SPES a wonderful place to work and learn.

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