What's new in school libraries in 2018? The AASL National School Library Standards. Read all about it!
Chris Swerling is the School Library Media Coordinator K-12 for Newton Public Schools. She is the recipient of the 2017 MSLA Peggy Hallisey Lifetime Achievement Award.
In November 2017, I attended the 18th American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. As conferences always are, it was exhausting as well as exhilarating! From pre-conference workshops to general and individual sessions, the conference buzzed with talk about the new AASL National School Library Standards. Attending a pre-conference afternoon workshop, I anxiously (but enthusiastically!) delved into them. As I unpacked the standards with school librarians from all over the country, I repeatedly heard “Here’s how I teach that” and “This is what it looks like in action in my school library.” I emerged from the workshop – and the conference – with respect for the common beliefs upon which the standards are grounded and can be applied equally to all schools, all levels. The shared foundations are concrete and tangible in defining how students, school librarians, and the school library program should think, create, share, and grow. I tip my hat in admiration to the AASL Standards and Guidelines Editorial Board – and for everyone who had a voice in shaping our profession’s new standards. They build on the past and point us to the new horizon – and beyond.
Chani Craig is a librarian at Turners Falls High School
Even though Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) has been around in education since the early 1990’s the term seems to be popping up all over schools in the past few years. Headlines touting “Mindfulness instead of Detention” or “Yoga in Schools” have become frequent occurrences in news articles and media feeds. Just last November a high-profile, national policy-recommending commission was formed through the Aspen Institute to investigate SEL as the potential “additional indicator” for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) which goes into effect in the 17-18 school year. Even in Massachusetts, as far back as August of 2011, the Department of Education published its “Guidelines on Implementing Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Curricula” and more recently this past summer’s Massachusetts Superintendents’ Conference theme was “Meeting the Social-Emotional Needs of Today’s Diverse Learners.” In light of all this recent attention it’s a safe bet Social Emotional Learning is here to stay.
Reba Tierney is the librarian at the Jeremiah E. Burke High School in Dorchester, MA
Attending ALA is always intense, but attending ALA as an AASL Affiliate Assembly representative for the New England region brought that intensity to another level! Yet, it was a good intensity, as it gave me the invaluable opportunity to work with school librarians from around the country. During one of the AASL Affiliate Assembly sessions, the Future Ready movement was brought up and discussed. At the time, I had not even heard of Future Ready, but it quickly became evident that this was something for school librarians to be excited about. According to the Twitter account for Future Ready, it is defined as developing the capacity to transform teaching & personalize learning using digital tools. The Future Ready Schools website states that the plan helps district leaders plan and implement personalized, research-based digital learning strategies so all students can achieve their full potential. But what does all this mean? And even more importantly, what does it mean for school librarians?
Each year, state school library organizations, organized into AASL regions, bring forth both Statements of Concern raised by their members and nominations for Statements of Commendation for programs/organizations that support literacy and school libraries. The AASL regional leadership submits these concerns and commendations to AASL for consideration during the AASL Affiliate Assembly meeting that takes place during ALA national conferences. AASL Affiliate Assembly works on these concerns by editing or combining as appropriate, then votes on which concerns and commendations to move forward to the AASL Executive Committee. When the Affiliate Assembly moves concerns forward for consideration by the AASL Executive Committee, the concerns include a request for action that Affiliate Assembly would like the national AASL organization to take to resolve the issue.
This year, all submitted commendations were approved, including MSLA’s submission for Wondermore (formerly The Foundation for Children’s Books), an organization that brings authors and books to underserved Boston school libraries as well as provides literacy professional development opportunities to Massachusetts school librarians. Wondermore will soon be receiving a commendation certificate from AASL for the work the organization does to support literacy and school library programs in Massachusetts.
The following is the report from AASL President Leslie Preddy summarizing the outcome of the various concerns that were submitted for 2015. Please note that the concerns about testing and recruitment came about, in part, from concerns submitted through our Region One, including submissions directly from the MSLA Board. Please feel free to contact MSLA’s current AASL Affiliate Assembly Delegates (Anita Cellucci or Amy Short) or another MSLA board member with any potential school library regional or national concerns/commendations for 2016. Submissions are due sometime in April each year. For more details, see AASL Statements of Concern and Statements of Commendation.
From Leslie Preddy:
"The Concerns were brought to the AASL Executive Committee for review and after much careful and thoughtful consideration and discussion, the following actions were taken: