Fall 2015 Newsletter

Greater Kansas City Association of School Librarians

Welcome to Another Year

The 2015-2016 school year is flying by, and library media specialists are doing fantastic things across the region! Thank you to everyone who shared news, and thank you for taking a few moments to catch up on fellow GKCASL members. I hope these exciting stories provide some inspiration and motivation as the days get colder and shorter. Grab some hot apple cider and enjoy!

Liz Ferguson

Fall Meeting

GKCASL Fall Meeting 2015

The fall meeting was October 1, 2015, at Lewis & Clark Elementary. Mackin sponsored the event, and Laura Hammerschmidt spoke about MackinVIA and other offerings. Gayla Parks, president, began the meeting by expressing how important professional groups like GKCASL and MASL are: not only do they provide relevant professional development and networking, but also they create a voice of advocacy that is increasingly important each year. This year's membership chair is Karen McKarnin; don't forget to become a member and encourage your colleagues to join!

Professional development at the fall meeting included a lively discussion about Makerspaces in school libraries. While these programs may seem overwhelming, they can be simple to initiate. The important thing is to start small, take deep breaths, and not be afraid of a little mess (or a BIG mess).

The winter meeting will be February 23, at Lee's Summit North High School. The theme will be Advocating for Our Profession. If you have any advocacy strategies to share, please contact Abby Cole and Angie Wiegers at acole@bssd.net and angie.wiegers@nkcschools.org.

What's Happening at KC Libraries?

Makerspace Mondays and FabLab Fridays

Jaci Hurley, library media specialist at Longview Farm Elementary and Trailridge Elementary in Lee's Summit, has started a maker program in each of her schools. Jaci says, "I recently launched Makerspace Mondays at Trailridge Elementary and FabLab Fridays at Longview Farm Elementary as a way to provide age appropriate STEAM activity opportunities to our students. We are currently set up one day a week for kindergarten and first grade students. November and December will be devoted to second and third graders. Activities for grades 4-6 are being planned for after the winter break."
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It is exciting to see Makerspaces pop up across the GKC region! Michelle Stegmaier of Gladden Elementary and Lindsay Linck from Scott Elementary are just two of the Belton School District librarians with growing maker programs. Librarians from Lee's Summit, Liberty, Grandview, and a variety of other districts are exploring the maker movement as well.

Summer Reading Programs

Last May Mrs. Germano, principal at Hawthorn Hill Elementary (LSR7), promised to kiss an unusual animal if students reached their school-wide goal of reading 100,000 minutes over the summer. Her students surpassed that goal and read a total of 196,067 minutes! As a reward, Mrs. Germano smooched a goat named Lucy at their September 25 assembly. In addition, students who completed a summer reading log received a free book. The summer reading program is sponsored by Karen McKarnin, Library Media Specialist. She extends thanks to owners Beth and Bill Bailey for bringing Lucy to visit the school.

Traci Mattis, library media specialist at Prairie View Elementary, also led a successful summer reading program. Traci had 79 students in her K-6 elementary school take the challenge to read 1,500 minutes this summer. Together, these students read 154,670 minutes! Sixty of the students who met their goal were invited to soak their principal, Amy Fennewald, five teachers, and the librarian as a reward while the rest of the school cheered them on. They all had a blast!

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Gateway to Reading

Local secondary school libraries are also promoting reading in a big way! At Oak Park High School in the NKC district, librarians Angie Wiegers and Theresa Christal have 30+ student and staff Gateway reader/selectors! They meet once a month to discuss the books, check out the book trailers, and eat fabulous amounts of junk food!

Meanwhile, Belton High School students are enjoying the 2015-2016 Gateway nominees. Librarian Elizabeth Ferguson recognizes these readers with book stickers that can be enjoyed in private or displayed across the library windows.

Library Spaces

Fort Osage's librarian, Paula Erickson, has been busy making the most of her media center's space. This year, she has added two collaboration stations. These stations are simply 40" TVs with an HDMI cable. Fort Osage High School is a one-to-one school with Chromebooks for all students. The Chromebooks have HDMI input, so students can easily connect. The collaboration stations have already been used by the school's newspaper, which has recently gone digital. The newspaper staff pulled up the website so they could look at it all together during the editorial process. Finding any errors or issues was a breeze! Groups of students can also use the stations to watch videos for assignments or work collaboratively on group presentations, easily spotting where to add items.

Fort Osage's implementation of one-to-one Chromebooks has enabled Paula to free up space previously used to house computers. With that unused space, they created a lounge for students. Some students use it to read. Some students use it as a more comfortable place to do classwork. And some students use it as just a place to hang out. Paula says, "It has worked out great."
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At Prairie View Elementary (LSR7), Traci Mattis had the opportunity to reinvent the South Library, which serves students in grades 3-6, over the last summer. The new environment is movable, modern and has motivated students to read! The photo below is a taste of how students use the library for what they call "read around the room" time.
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Oak Park High School will show its commitment to social justice in October--or SOCKtober--as they call it. Every October, librarians Angie Wiegers and Theresa Christal ask students and staff to recognize the homeless issue in the US, Missouri, and the KC metro. They ask students to donate socks throughout the month of October and then deliver those socks to the City Union Mission.

Lauren Tarshis Visit

Lauren Tarshis will be Skyping with students at Chapel Lakes Elementary on October 16. She will speak with students in grades 2-5. Library Media Specialist Amy Baker organized the visit.

Honors for Members

Rebecca Marcum Parker

Rebecca Marcum Parker, Kansas City Public Schools librarian, has been accepted for the second year to the American Federation of Teacher’s Teacher Leader Program. The AFT TLP is an opportunity for selected educators to examine current trends in education, dissect educational research and data, and collaborate with other selected educators regarding educational needs. Each year about 150 educators across the United States are selected to participate in the program. The yearlong program culminates in action research; last year Parker’s action research was “Do students benefit from having full-time library services?” which included 4 years of student library visit data from her school library. Her data, used in conjunction with other district data, resulted in an increase in librarian service hours across KCPS for this 2015-2016 school year.

Angela Rosheim

Lewis and Clark Elementary School's library media specialist, Angela Rosheim, was recently named first runner up in the School Library Journal Build Something Bold Contest for her Makerspace. This award is sponsored by Lego Education and "honors creativity in programming that incorporates hands-on learning led by the librarian or media specialist." The Lewis and Clark Elementary Makerspace was awarded $1,000 to facilitate continued creative expression and engaging, hands-on learning. More information about this award and its recipients can be found in the original SLJ article.

Many GKCASL members enjoyed exploring Angela's Library Media Center and Makerspace at the fall meeting, which she graciously hosted.


Task Tracker

After DESE’s news that data is no longer being collected from Library Media Centers and the implementation of a new district evaluation tool, Blue Springs School District librarians are working to identify ways they can record data and demonstrate their positive impact. Blue Spring South High School library media specialist Abby Cole created a task tracking survey to help get a picture of the many ways she serves her school. Using a spreadsheet from Trailridge Elementary School (LSR7) as a spring board, Abby identified regular tasks she performs. These were divided into Patron Services and Library Administration. She also felt it was important to track the numbers of teachers and students served, subjects of instruction, times, and dates. Abby created a survey using Excel Survey, part of the Office 365 suite the district recently adopted. Google Forms could also be used. Once the survey was completed, Abby bookmarked it so she can quickly record data each day. She really likes that data “all lands on a spreadsheet that I can manipulate and see specific data on individual tasks.”

Click here to view an example document in Google Drive.

~~See you February 23 at LSNHS~~