The American Association of School Librarians empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.
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Volume 15, Issue 5
August 2016

In This Issue:

Association News
Member Spotlight
Education News
Resources for School Librarians
Partnership and Collaborator News
Grants & Awards

Association News

AASL Defines "Effective School Library Program"
As the national association for the school library profession, AASL has defined the term “effective school library program” to assist with the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) at the state and district level: 
“An effective school library program has a certified school librarian at the helm, provides personalized learning environments, and offers equitable access to resources to ensure a well-rounded education for every student.”

The definition is part of a new position statement, “Definition for an Effective School Library Program,” published by AASL as guidance for administrators, school boards and school librarians in the implementation of ESSA. It provides the elements of an effective school library program as a fundamental component of college, career and community readiness. The complete position statement can be found on the AASL website at

AASL Announces Recipients of Inspire Grants
At the 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Orlando, AASL announced the inaugural recipients of two new grants made possible by the generosity of AASL member Marina “Marney” Welmers. The additions to the organization’s prestigious awards program provide funds for public middle or high school libraries to update their existing collections or plan a special event in order to enhance student learning. The Inspire Collection Development Grant recipients include:
  • Kelly Beckham, Kannapolis Middle School, Kannapolis, NC
  • Cheryl Goff, Carrie D. Kendrick Middle School, Jonesboro, GA
  • Shanna Miles, South Atlanta High School, Atlanta, GA
  • Leigh Morlock, Jefferson High School Middle College for Advanced Studies, Portland, OR
  • Chalice Tillis, Abbeville High School, Abbeville, AL
The Inspire Special Event Grant recipients include:
  • Julie Abeska, West Bloomfield High School, West Bloomfield Township, MI
  • Catherine Andronik, Brien McMahon High School, Norwalk, CT
  • Sara Frey, Plymouth Whitemarsh High School, Plymouth Meeting, PA
  • Leigh Graham, West Rowan High School, Mount Ulla, NC
  • Beth van Kan, Graham Park Middle School, Triangle, VA
AASL Welcomes New KQ Bloggers
AASL is proud to welcome an additional cast of bloggers for its Knowledge Quest website. The new bloggers include:
  • Sedley Abercrombie, lead library media coordinator, Davidson County Schools, NC
  • Mark Dzula, director of teaching and learning resources, The Webb Schools, CA
  • Jenna Grodzicki, school librarian, Thalberg Elementary School, CT
  • Christine James, school librarian, Northwoods Middle School, SC
  • Mica Johnson, school librarian, Farragut Middle School, TN
  • Kate MacMillan, coordinator library services, Napa Valley USD, CA.
  • Becca Munson, ed tech specialist – librarian, Blue Valley School District, KS
  • Sara Stevenson, school librarian, O. Henry Middle School, TX
  • Michelle Wilson, school librarian, Helena High School, AL
The bloggers will cover evergreen topics including collaboration, intellectual freedom, and advocacy as well as emergent trends such as makerspaces, learning commons, gaming in education, STEM/STEAM and technology. The new bloggers join continuing bloggers Helen Adams, Hannah Byrd Little, Kelly Hincks, Karen Perry, Anne Akers, Cathy Collins, Ashley Cooksey, Cassy Lee, Maureen Schlosser, Connie Williams, Diana Rendina, Daniella Smith and Heather Moorefield-Lang.

Melissa Johnston Named School Library Research Co-Editor
Melissa Johnston, assistant professor at the University of West Georgia, has been appointed as co-editor of AASL’s peer-reviewed, online journal School Library Research. Johnston joins continuing co-editor Mega Subramaniam. “I am honored to be given this opportunity to work with the great community of school library scholars and practitioners,” said Johnston. “Our field is one that changes rapidly and is in need of research that will continue to move it forward. I was interested in co-editing School Library Research because it presents an opportunity to be involved in promoting and publishing high-quality research that can inform practice and move our profession forward.” As an assistant professor in the College of Education at the University of West Georgia, Johnston teaches graduate courses in the school library certification program.

Volunteer to Serve on ALA, Council, and Joint Committees for 2017-2018
James (Jim) G. Neal, American Library Association (ALA) president-elect, encourages members to volunteer to serve on ALA, Council, and two joint committees for the 2017-2018 term (terms start on July 1, 2017). Serving on a committee provides members with leadership training, networking opportunities, and experience in working on specific association topics. The online committee volunteer form closes on Friday, Nov. 4, 2016. To volunteer, please complete and submit the form electronically (be sure to select "ALA" in the drop-down menu on the main form). Committee appointments will be finalized at the 2017 ALA Midwinter Meeting, with notifications sent out in early spring, 2017. 

ALA Seeks Nation’s Favorite Librarians for 2016 I Love My Librarian Award
The American Library Association (ALA) invites the public to nominate their favorite librarians for its prestigious 2016 I Love My Librarian Award. The award recognizes the public service of exceptional public, school, college, community college or university librarians who have transformed lives and communities through educational opportunities and lifelong learning. The ALA is accepting nominations through Sept. 19.

Member Spotlight

Brian Mayer Explores Games in Atlantic Article
Brian Mayer, gaming and library technology specialist at Genessee Valley Educational Partnership in Le Roy, NY, explores how to use game design to demonstrate practical applications of mathematics, technology, and communication skills in an article in The Atlantic. Mayer, who will be a featured speaker at AASL's GAME | Gaming As Meaningful Education, September 23-24, in Rochester, NY, created a game related to steampunk literature. The narrative revolved around an eccentric professor who was trying to travel back in time to save his daughter's life in Victorian England. To rescue her, participants needed to activate a portal, which involved referencing work they’d studied in class. “It was social interaction, engagement, and immersion,” he said. â€œAnd we’ve had feedback from educators saying that students who don’t respond to traditional classes start to shine [here].”

Doreen Bergman Talks about E-Book Program at Her School District in Local News Article
In a local news article Doreen Bergman, school library systems coordinator at BOCES School Library in Syracuse, NY, talks about a new program that offers e-books to students from pre-K through high school. The school’s myOn digital library gives students access to thousands of books that can be read on computers, laptops and other devices. "This is something they can get anywhere, anytime on any device which really gave us the opportunity to facilitate access for all kids,” she notes.

Education News

Carla Hayden Confirmed as Librarian of Congress
On July 13, the Senate approved, 74–18, the nomination of Carla Hayden to serve as the nation’s 14th Librarian of Congress. Hayden, ALA past president and director of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, is the first female and the first African American to lead the Library of Congress. She also is the first professional librarian to be confirmed in more than 60 years. Hayden’s appointment comes on the heels of a vigorous ALA grassroots and social media campaign that encouraged thousands of library advocates to contact their senators to support her confirmation.

U.S. Department of Education Issues Proposed Draft Rules for Testing
The Every Student Succeeds Act provides for seven states to test "innovative assessments." The US Department of Education published proposed draft regulations that participating states would use to help guide the pilot program.

Early Attention Skills Most Consistent Predictor of Academic Success
A new Duke University study suggests problems paying attention in school in early childhood can foreshadow academic challenges later, including graduating from high school. Such students are 40 percent less likely to graduate, according to the study. The study confirms what many teachers have pointed out: Patterns are set early.

Inquiry-Based Lesson Plans Provide Boost to Weaker Teachers
Weaker teachers benefit the most from access to inquiry-based lesson plans -- rather than professional development -- according to a Northwestern University study of Virginia math teachers. The study found that such lesson plans helped average teachers improve their performance to that of the 80th percentile of teachers.

Social Justice Courses Benefits Black Students
Transformative social-justice courses could help shape black students' career choices and their civic and social-justice values, according to a study by a Pennsylvania State University researcher. The study considered long-term outcomes for students who took the course during high school.

Has Common Core Improved Student Performance?
States began adopting the Common Core State Standards more than five years ago, with Kentucky taking the lead in 2010. Assessment data so far show mixed results across states, but student performance in Kentucky has improved overall since the adoption.

Resources for School Librarians

New Practice Guide from the Institute of Education Sciences
The Institute of Education Sciences has released a new practice guide that provides four recommendations for teaching foundational reading skills to students in kindergarten through third grade. Each recommendation includes implementation steps and solutions for common obstacles. The recommendations also summarize and rate supporting evidence.

U.S. Department of Education Releases Newcomer Toolkit
The U.S. Department of Education has released the Newcomer Toolkit, which is designed to help schools support immigrants, refugees, and their families with a successful integration process. This toolkit provides information, resources, and examples of effective practices that educators can use to support newcomers in schools and communities.

Do Digital Devices Affect Reading Comprehension?
Students need to learn how to read print and online texts, high-school English teacher Abigail Walthausen writes in this commentary. She considers the ongoing conversation about what -- if anything -- is lost when digital devices are used for reading.

Ideas for Transforming Students into Inventors
Middle-school teacher Heather Wolpert-Gawron in this commentary outlines a project-based learning unit that asks students to invent a tool for home or the classroom. Through PBL, students brainstorm, collaborate and create prototypes of their inventions.

7 Ways to Make Project-Based Learning Work
There are challenges and pitfalls to implementing project-based learning, but the advantages are great. In this Educational Leadership article, teacher Alison Zuniga and university educator Thomas M. Cooper share one high school's journey to effective PBL and describe why, when done right, teachers make the choice to relinquish a majority of learning into the hands of their students, allowing students to be active partners as opposed to passive receptacles.

How Culinary Arts Can Foster STEAM Lessons
The culinary arts are a natural way to integrate the arts into science, technology, engineering and math lessons, English teacher Sarah Henderson and STEAM coordinator Doug Henderson write in this blog post. They share several culinary-themed activities.

Strategies to Help Students Reflect on Learning
Open-ended, authentic assignments allow students to reflect on and evaluate their learning, Derek Luebbe, head of school at the Shanghai Community International School, writes in this blog post. He offers insights about creating learning environments that foster students as evaluators.

Strategies for Assessing Maker Projects
Educators are looking for ways to evaluate the content and context of how maker projects help students learn, Stephanie Chang, Maker Ed program director, and Chad Ratliff, director of instructional programs at Virginia's Albemarle County Public Schools, write in this blog post. They suggest ways to assess maker projects.

How Tech Can Help Create School-to-Career Pathways
Technology in schools can extend beyond student devices, apps and extensions, Brianna Crowley, a former teacher and instructional technology coach, writes in this blog post. She highlights a school-to-table program as an example of how technology can connect learning to career pathways.

Tips for Using Design Thinking in Literature Analysis
Dan Ryder, a high-school English teacher in Maine, is deepening students' learning by using design thinking and engineering in literature analysis. His students read and discussed "Romeo and Juliet," and then used tools, including 3D printers and Legos, to design solutions to problems facing the literary characters.

Tips for Choosing a Parent-Teacher App
Parent-teacher communication can be difficult, but mobile apps may be able to help bridge the gap, first-grade teacher Jessica Meacham writes in this blog post. She highlights the process and resources she has used to choose a parent-teacher communication app.

3 Strategies for Adopting STEAM-Based Programs
Integrating science, technology, engineering, art and math across subjects can help drive positive changes among teachers and students, K-12 technology facilitator Marcos Navas writes in this blog post. He highlights his district's support of a STEAM-based mindset.

How to Use Genius Bars for More than Fixing Tech
"Genius Bars" -- student-led technology teams -- can help teach skills such as collaboration and mentorship, Laura Busch, a technology integrator at a Wisconsin elementary school, writes in this blog post. She shares her school's approach to "genius bars."

How Real-World Goals Benefit PBL Units
By establishing an authentic goal for project-based learning, students can learn positive character traits such as resilience, patience and selflessness, middle-school teacher Heather Wolpert-Gawron suggests. In this blog post, Wolpert-Gawron describes three ways to find real-world goals for PBL.

Partnership and Collaborator News

17 Teachers Receive First-Ever ASCD Teacher Impact Grants
ASCD announced that 17 teachers will receive the first-ever ASCD Teacher Impact Grants, which will directly fund teacher leadership initiatives to drive transformation and improve student outcomes. The grant awards range from $5,000 to $15,000 and each of the awardees -- who hail from 14 different states -- is a teacher leader who spends at least 50% of his or her time in a classroom setting.

Report Shows Far Too Few U.S. High School Graduates Are Academically Prepared
Achieve released 
a new type of examination of states' progress in achieving college and career readiness for all students in the form of 51 individual state profiles and a cross-state report that look at actual student performance against CCR measures. This report represents the first time that these data, from publicly available sources, have been compiled to paint a picture of academic readiness in every state. For the most part, it shows that too few high school graduates are prepared to succeed in two- and four-year postsecondary institutions or the military.

Grants & Awards

Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE Cart/Campbell Grant for Librarians 
The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the NCTE (ALAN) is offering the Cart/Campbell Grant. The grant offers $500 funding plus complimentary registration toward attendance at the annual two-day ALAN Workshop. Eligible applicants are practicing librarians working with teens in high school, junior high school, middle school, or public libraries. Membership in ALAN is required for consideration. One Campbell/Cart Grant will be awarded annually, and each recipient may only receive the grant once. The deadline for application submissions is September 1 of the year of the ALAN Workshop to be attended, and the recipient will receive notification by October 1.

Department of Education Promise Neighborhoods Grant Competition
U.S. Secretary of Education announced the 2016 Promise Neighborhoods grant competition, which will award $30 million to up to five organizations to provide their communities with a coordinated, comprehensive suite of services and school supports aimed at improving the outcomes for students and their families. The program is part of the department’s continued commitment to support locally designed initiatives to revitalize the country’s most disadvantaged communities. Potential applicants, including nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education, and Indian tribes, are encouraged to read the full Notice Inviting Applications. Applications are due by September 6, 2016.

K-12 Web Archiving Program
Beginning with a pilot program in 2008, the K-12 Web Archiving Program has engaged hundreds of middle and high school students from schools around the United States in selecting, describing, and preserving Web content. The program is accepting applications for new and returning partners from middle and high schools through September 16.

IEEE Maker Project Competition
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) announced the annual IEEE Maker Project Competition, welcoming innovators and tech enthusiasts to battle it out for great prizes and the chance to work with an IEEE member. Entrants must be 18 years or older to enter and submissions must be an engineering project that was built or created using hardware or software. Submissions must also include an image or video of the tech project, as well as a description. Visitors to the site will be able to share, link, comment and even vote for their favorite submissions. The contest is accepting submissions through September 17, 2016.

Disney Friends for Change
Youth Service America and The Walt Disney Company are teaming up to inspire kids and families to make a positive impact in their community. Disney Summer of Service grants will offer young change-makers $500 to turn creative ideas into projects that will positively impact their communities. Applications will be accepted through September 30, 2016.

Captain Planet Foundation Grants
The mission of the Captain Planet Foundation is to give the next generation of environmental stewards an active understanding and love for the natural world in which they live. Projects must be project-based, performed by youth, have environmental outcomes, and be based in the U.S. Grants from the Captain Planet Foundation are intended to provide hands-on environmental stewardship opportunities for youth; serve as a catalyst to getting environment-based education in schools; and inspire youth and communities to participate in community service through environmental stewardship activities. Applications for spring and summer projects are due September 30.

IMLS Seeks Nation's Top Museums and Libraries for 2017 National Medal
Each year, the Institute of Museum and Library Services presents select museums and libraries with the nation's highest honor, the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The award recognizes libraries and museums that make significant and exceptional contributions in service to their communities. IMLS is now accepting nominations for the 2017 awards. Anyone--an employee, a board member, a member of the public, or an elected official--can nominate an institution. To be considered, the institution must complete and return a nomination form by October 3, 2016.

Innovate to Educate Awards
Share your story about the innovative technology initiative your school or district has undertaken and how it has advanced education for your students. Complete the entry form and submit either a short video or picture that illustrates your technology initiative. We’ll post your entry on the Innovate to Educate website, and share the link on our Facebook page to put your school in the spotlight. Submissions will be accepted through October 14, 2016, and will be judged by three industry experts.

PeopleAdmin's Inspired2Educate National Recognition Program
Inspired2Educate is a national recognition program that encourages current K-20 educators to honor the teachers or administrators who inspired them to embrace education as their life’s work. Tell us your story in a video or in writing! Each month, PeopleAdmin will award one person with $1,000 for professional development and $1,000 for their educational institution.

Wish You Well Foundation Funding
The Wish You Well Foundation’s mission is supporting family literacy in the United States by fostering and promoting the development and expansion of new and existing literacy and educational programs. Donations are made that relate to programs and projects that aid in this stated mission. The Wish You Well Foundation reviews donation requests with a wide array of funding needs. Most requests range from $200 to $10,000. Organizations are reminded to base their requested amount on the program's unique needs for funding. Deadline: rolling.

Fund for Teachers Grants
The Fund for Teachers provides funds for direct grants to teachers to support summer learning opportunities of their own design. Maximum award: $5,000. Eligibility: teachers who work with students in grades pre-kindergarten through 12, with a minimum of three years teaching experience, full-time, spending at least 50 percent of the time in the classroom at the time grants are approved and made. Deadline: varies by state.

Grants to Increase Access to Healthy Foods from the No Kid Hungry Foundation
Providing students access to healthy and nutritious meals is the focus of No Kid Hungry Foundation grants. Currently, the foundation supports projects that increase access to summer meal programs, school breakfast and after-school snacks and meals, as well as advocacy efforts, including anti-hunger issues and needs and educating families about SNAP and the Women, Infants, and Children programs. Interested schools can submit letters of inquiry year-round. Prize: Average grants range from $5,000 to $10,000. Deadline: Rolling.

The Awesome Foundation Grants for Projects
The Awesome Foundation funds projects that challenge and expand our understanding of our individual and communal potentials, bringing communities together, casting aside social inhibitions and boundaries for a moment. Maximum award: $1,000. Eligibility: all people and organizations; there are no prerequisites. Deadline: rolling.

AASL Hotlist

Member Currents

Edie Crook is now Media Specialist at Hawks Nest STEAM Academy.

Did you land a new job, attain a new degree or position, or change your name? Tell us about it! Through Member Currents, AASL will provide a forum for updates on its members. Types of updates include graduations, certifications earned, changes in job positions, retirements, name changes, and death notices.




23: Webinar: AASL Best Apps for Teaching & Learning 2016

30: Webinar: AASL Best Websites for Teaching & Learning 2016


8: Webinar: Graphic Novels: Look Deeper Than POW and WHAM

15: Webinar: Graphic Novel Book Clubs: From Idea to Reality

20: Webinar: Engage Community & Incubate Creativity @ Your Library

23-24: GAME | Gaming As Meaningful Education, Rochester, NY


4: Webinar: Your "Principal" Partnership: Communicating Library Program Success

19: Webinar: Using Free and Inexpensive Technology to Transition Your Library to a Learning Commons

Learn Buncee: From Creation to Sharing!

School Author/Illustrator Visits…You Can Too!

(Clicking these links will first prompt you to log in to the AASL website.)

Latest KQ Blog Posts

Helping English Language Learners Succeed

ESSA and Technology: How School Librarians Use Technology to Impact Student Learning

Therapy on a Page: Bibliotherapy Resources for School Librarians

AASL Defines “Effective School Library Program” for ESSA Implementation

Making a Great Exit

AASL Welcomes New Knowledge Quest Bloggers

For the Record | AASL President’s Report – ALA Annual 2016

For the Record | AASL President-Elect’s Report – ALA Annual 2016

For the Record | AASL Councilor’s Report – ALA Annual 2016

For the Record | AASL Treasurer’s Report – ALA Annual 2016

For the Record | AASL Affiliate Assembly Chair’s Report

Attend a Conference in Pajamas

Are You a Future Ready Librarian?

How to Deal When Things Go Wrong in Your Makerspace

On Libraries: Leadership – There Is No Other Option

3 Ways to Address the Black Lives Matter Movement in Your School Library

The Power of Connecting Students with Authors

Do school librarians and educators have an obligation to address social change?

No-Bummer Summer: Framework for Inspired Study

Civics, the Election, and the Library: A Perfect Match

Visual Content with RELAY and Adobe Spark

Remarks from James Patterson on receiving the AASL Crystal Apple Award

Vacation Resources: What Do You Pack?

Bridging the Gap Between Access and Opportunity: A Recap of the ESSA Listening Session

Taking Your First Job: Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Unpacking ESSA for the School Library

School and Public Librarian Partnerships

AASL Signs Title IV, Part A Coalition Letter Calling for SSAEG Funding

Students Need Libraries in Houston ISD (TX)

Working Together as AASL

Collaboration Brings Authors into Schools

Collection Analysis? Walk the Shelves

ALA in Orlando: Conference Kaleidoscope

It Came Full Circle: Connecting with an Author Changed Everything

Collection Development Plans
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