[kids-lib] Important Opportunity to Speak up for School Libraries! (ESSA Community Forums Sponsored by ODE)

Jennifer Maurer jennifer.maurer at state.or.us
Thu Dec 1 15:34:05 PST 2016

Please pardon the cross-posting. The excellent ideas and information about participating in the upcoming ESSA community forums sponsored by ODE are from Anne Urban, District Librarian for Three Rivers School District,. The next forum is in Hillsboro on 12/6 at 6 pm, and then they pick up again after the holidays with one in Jordan Valley on 1/3 at 4:30 pm. After that, there will be five more meetings in January. The schedule is part of the email below.


Jennifer Maurer, MLS
School Library Consultant
Library Support and Development Services
Oregon State Library
250 Winter Street NE
Salem, OR 97301
jennifer.maurer at state.or.us<mailto:jennifer.maurer at state.or.us>

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From: oasl-all at ola.memberclicks.net
Sent: Thursday, December 01, 2016 2:45 PM
To: Jennifer Maurer
Subject: [oasl-all] Important Opportunity to Speak up for School Libraries!

Hello to all my amazing school library friends and colleagues!

Mark your calendars for an opportunity to speak up for high quality school library programs for Oregon students, schools, and communities.  Click here<http://www.ode.state.or.us/superintendent/priorities/essa-community-forums-flier-11-2016.pdf> to see the dates and locations of all the opportunities statewide to find the meeting nearest to you.

What's the big picture?  The Every Student Succeeds Act, known as ESSA, is the largest source of federal funding for education - and it specifically includes school library programs!  Take a look at this preview<https://docs.google.com/document/d/1L0mt2_Yps5zNG6Wl4n61heV-1cExi7Ksdcs9Np50hgQ/edit?usp=sharing> of the article in the OASL Winter 2017 Interchange with more background and information about ESSA and School Libraries and what OASL has been doing to get the word out about how high-quality school libraries make an impact on student achievement.

Who's listening?  Here in Oregon, Oregon Department of Education (ODE) is holding a series of meetings over the next 2 months to get input on how to best serve students and schools across the state as a part of the new federal funding guidelines - and they specifically want and need to hear from teacher-librarians and our communities about how high-quality school library programs support academic achievement.

What do I say?  With support from Every Library, OASL and OLA sent a letter to ODE outlining all the ways that high quality school library programs support schools and student academic achievement and how we fit into any comprehensive plan to improve educational outcomes.  ​​It provides great talking points for when you speak up!  Take it with you to the meeting to help compose your thoughts.  You'll find it here<http://www.olaweb.org/communications> at the top of the page on the OLA website.

Bring a team...  if you can coordinate with others in your district or region to bring a team, that helps amplify your message.  And if you can bring students, parents, or community members to speak up for school libraries, or anything else that shows support from your community, that can make your impact even more powerful.
When you go...  When our little group of 5 teacher-librarians attended the first meeting of the series earlier this week, we sat together and introduced ourselves as teacher librarians during the quick introductions at the beginning of the session.  We sat together deliberately, as after 15 minutes of "table talk" each table reported out.  By sitting together, we were able to coordinate our written responses and when we gave our table report, it was entirely focused on school libraries.  We picked one person from our little group to report out and share our discussion, focused on what school libraries can do for students and the potential impact on academic achievement.  Our experience at the spring sessions had been that our voice was diluted when we spread ourselves out among tables and groups.

There was also a "discussion note-taking sheet" which will be collected and compiled with these three questions, to which we all wrote school library talking points (Hint: the OASL policy memo has some great talking points for you to use!):

  *   What local resources are needed to carry out this plan?
  *   What state resources and supports are needed to carry out this plan?
  *   These components are a start to improving education in Oregon.  What are we missing?

Most of the presentation is a history of ESSA and the timeline to bring everyone up to date.  ODE is happy about the possibility of having more flexibility, ODE also talked about a "well-rounded education" and "evidence based" strategies - a perfect entry point for talking about the power of school libraries.

Spread the word!  Here's a tweet from ODE from the southern Oregon meeting - they're really listening!  I retweeted it and added two more hashtags - #ESSAlibraries which helps the American Library Association track ESSA activities and #ESSAOASL which helps OASL track our ESSA activities.

[Inline image 1]

Jennifer McKenzie, the amazing teacher librarian at South Medford High School, brought pom-poms to the meeting to remind us all that we need to be cheerleaders for school libraries - which inspired this tweet using our new hashtag #ESSAOASL

[Inline image 1]

So be a cheerleader for school libraries - with or without pom-poms - and share what you know: that high-quality school libraries work to make a difference for students, schools, and communities!  And tweet it out - or send me a picture of yourself or your team at a meeting and I'll make sure it gets out there!

#ESSAOASL  #ESSAlibraries

Anne H. Urban
District Librarian/Teacher Mentor
Three Rivers School District
(541) 862-3111 ext 5265
anne.urban at threerivers.k12.or.us<mailto:anne.urban at threerivers.k12.or.us>

Oregon Library Association • PO Box 3067, La Grande, Oregon 97850, United States
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