and a 2016 Web Seal of Excellence winner
In the Spring of 2013, Chelmsford library director, Valerie Diggs met with DESE to make sure that they would accept a library-specific rubric if we created one, and then formed an MSLA task force to work on the problem. We initially used the School Nurse Rubric as a guideline, but it is based on the SISP (Specialized Instructional Support Personnel) rubric and we wanted School Librarians to be evaluated as teachers, so we switched over to the format of the Physical Education Teachers Rubric which was developed by a task force at Springfield College (and never released). Both included only a “Proficient Level” column, and we followed suit.
In October 2013, the task force sent a survey “What does this look like in your School” to find out how librarians across the state were mapping what they did onto the teacher rubric, and what types of evidence they were collecting. Robin Cicchetti collated the results into a template that would become the basis of our rubric.
In December 2013, the MSLA board members divided into elementary, middle and high school groups to discuss the Guiding Question: “ What are the important attributes of an effective school librarian? and, Where in the existing DESE teacher rubric can we put each of these attributes?” It became clear that this wasn’t a match made in heaven. Some of what we do maps very well into the classroom teacher rubric, but other important metrics of an effective school librarian (e.g. Collection Development, Library Administration, Information Access) are harder to fit.
Members of the MSLA board continued to work on the rubric in grade level groups through early winter 2014. We consulted a variety of resources on evaluating school librarian effectiveness including the “ALA/AASL Standards for Initial Preparation of School Librarians," “AASL L4L Sample School Librarian Performance and Evaluation System," “Implementing the Common Core: The Role of the School Librarian," MSLA Model School Rubrics and the rubrics from other states, including New York’s “Student Learning Objectives for School Librarians.” Our list of recommended criteria grew, but the DESE teacher rubric was fixed. We were going to have to map multiple attributes into one field.
In February 2014, a small task force (Robin Cicchetti, Carrie Tucker, Judi Paradis and Ellen Brandt) with at least one representative from each group convened to collate the work of the three groups into one rubric. It wasn’t easy. Not only were there different ideas about where to map a particular attribute, but it was clear that the role of a school librarian can vary widely depending on the circumstances. An effective elementary school librarian working on a fixed schedule may look different than an effective high school librarian on a flexible schedule.
The task force worked on the rubric through the winter and spring. In June 2014, Kathleen Porter copy edited the rubric, Carrie Tucker wrote a cover letter, and Valerie Diggs reviewed the package before sending it into to DESE where it was accepted in July, and added to the DESE Educator Evaluation Web page.
We encourage MA school librarians to use the rubric when collecting education evaluation evidence. The method that works for me is to put a screenshot of the relevant standard at the top of each page in my online portfolio and then put my own evidence underneath.