News You Can Use

School Library System, Model Schools & Arts in Education

Big picture
The information below may be useful to others in your school so please feel free to share with the teachers and others who would benefit most. If you have any questions, please contact Kerrie Burch, Director for School Library System, Model Schools and Arts in Education.

Sora (OverDrive)

One of the free resources that the School Library System (SLS) provides to all schools in the region is OverDrive. This is an ebook and audiobook platform that gets students excited about reading. Last year they launched a new app called Sora. If you are familiar with the public library's OverDrive app called Libby then you will know that OverDrive has really hit it out of the park. Sora is the school version of Libby and is equally as wonderful.

Since this change over to Sora, and with the authentication of students through OverDrive, we have seen an amazing increase in usage. In December 2019 alone, there was a 114% increase in usage compared to last year. The numbers only look to increase as we continue to authenticate schools using Google, Microsoft, and Clever. We look forward ton continuing to support students' love of reading in this way. Please contact Kerrie Burch for more information.

Movie Licensing (SWANK)

Does your school show movies (DVD/BluRay) in the classroom or at after school events? Does your school have Movie Licensing so that your teachers and community members are showing those movies legally? If not, please contact Kerrie for more information about Movie Licensing, a service that allows schools to avoid copyright infringement and show movies responsibly.

**Please note that even with Movie Licensing, it is never okay to show Netflix or other streaming movie services in school as it violates the end user agreement for the account holder.

NBC Learn Trial

NBC Learn is a streaming service with thousands of educational videos and lesson plans that have been vetted and are ready for use in school. At this time there is a free trial that was circulated to all librarians in the region. They were asked to share it with teachers too. That trial is good until the end of January. If your school is interested in purchasing NBC Learn, it can be done through our Multimedia CoSer as part of a bundle that includes Learn360, CCC! Streaming, and Soundzabound. Please contact Kerrie Burch for more information.
Questar III SLS Professional Learning Catalog

The SLS Professional Learning Catalog is the home for all professional learning opportunities for school librarians for the 19-20 school year.

Model Schools News

Liaison Meeting

Questar III Model Schools is looking to revive the Model Schools Liaison meetings in order to:

  • Determine the district needs with regard to instructional technology
  • Discuss the latest instructional technology trends
  • Determine how to integrate technology into classrooms effectively
  • Discuss updates to state standards and policies

This group is for Instructional Technology teachers, Tech Directors, Ed Tech Coaches, and any others who are involved with instructional technology decision making in your district. The group will have a focus on instructional technology so may not be the best group for IT Directors. We don’t want to turn anyone away, we just want to be clear about the focus of this group and not waste anyone’s time if it isn’t the right fit for them.

Our first meeting will be held Thursday, January 30, 2020 from 8:30 - 11:30 in the Questar III Conference Center, Room 2. If you or someone you know would like to attend this meeting, please sign up using My Learning Plan. The link to register is:

NEW Model Schools Listserv Address

Questar III BOCES has switched platforms for Listservs and the old Model Schools Listserv has been moved. All messages to this listserv should now be sent to If there is someone who should be added to this Listserv, please email Kerrie Burch.

NEW Workshops - Sign Up Now

Model Schools has a variety of workshops available to all schools beginning in January. Please go to: for more information on the workshops available. Topics include:

  • Google Apps for Education
  • Chrome Extensions
  • Microsoft Forms

Questar III Robots and Coding Materials

Check out the robots and gadgets available to Model Schools subscribing districts. Each item comes with professional development that will align to standards and enhance existing or new instruction. For more information please contact Kerrie.

Arts and Enrichment Directory

The Arts and Enrichment catalog provides excellent programming ideas for your school. There is something for every subject area and every grade level.

Artist Request System

We use an electronic system for arts in education and exploratory enrichment program approvals. You may have seen emails coming in that ask you to approve programs. Please approve or deny programs as soon as possible so artists can be paid on time.

How Many Teams Did You Say?

This year we have 97 teams competing on the Odyssey of the Mind Tournament. That's more than last year and the year before. We can still use judges and volunteers to make the day a great success for students. Please consider volunteering your time.

Odyssey of the Mind Tournament

Saturday, March 21st, 7:30am

24 Sunset Boulevard

Coxsackie, NY

Mark your calendars! This year's tournament will take place at Coxsackie-Athens Central School on March 21st. Volunteers and judges are always appreciated and needed. Please email for more information.

Judges and Volunteers Needed

We cannot have a successful tournament without our judges and volunteers which is why each school is required to provide at least one volunteer and one judge for each team competing in the tournament on March 21st. Please start early to secure judges and volunteers. Judges and volunteers can be teachers, administrators, parents, or community members. Please ask judges and volunteers to indicate what school/team they are representing in the comments section of their registration. Registration information:

Judges (must be at least 18):

Judges must be able to attend the training on January 25, 2019 from 9-1 (new judges) or 10:30-1 (returning judges) at Capital Region BOCES. Click HERE to sign up as a judge for the tournament on March 21st (snow date March 22nd).


Click HERE to sign up to volunteer at the tournament on March 21st (snow date March 22nd). Please specify your availability so we can accommodate your schedule as much as possible.