American Association of School Librarians
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Volume 12, Issue 5
August 2013

In This Issue:

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

Association News

NEA Unanimously Votes to Support AASL and the Strengthening America’s School Act
Delegates at the 2013 National Education Association (NEA) Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly adopted without debate a new business item which called on NEA to support AASL in its lobbying efforts with regard to the Strengthening America’s School Act. Presented by Susan Ridgeway, AASL member and advocacy chair for the Ohio Educational Library Media Association, the business item read: “The NEA will assist the American Association of School Librarians with public support of its lobbying efforts, in the passage of the Title IV, Part A, Subpart 2 (Improving Literacy and College and Career Readiness Through Effective School Library Programs) under the Strengthening America’s School Act.”

AASL President Releases Statement on ‘Declaration for the Right to Libraries’
Gail Dickinson, AASL President, released a statement regarding the “Declaration for the Right to Libraries.” She states, “The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) proudly supports the “Declaration for the Right to Libraries,” a component of Barbara Stripling’s 2013 American Library Association (ALA) Presidential Initiative, “Libraries Change Lives.” School library programs change lives by empowering students to become effective and independent users of information and ethical and productive members of our democratic society. The declaration champions the nation’s right to quality libraries of all types – public, school, academic, and special – and the expert teaching and guidance provided librarians and library staff. Guided by the AASL learning standards, school librarians teach students to think critically, create new knowledge, share knowledge, and pursue personal and esthetic growth.”

Nominations Open for 2013 Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times I Love My Librarian Award
Nominations opened at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Chicago for the 2013 Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times I Love My Librarian Award. The award invites library users nationwide to recognize the accomplishments of librarians in public, school, college, community college and university libraries for their efforts to improve the lives of people in their community. Nominations will run through Sept. 6 and are being accepted online at Up to 10 librarians will be selected. Each will receive a $5,000 cash award, a plaque and a travel stipend to attend the awards ceremony and reception in New York, hosted by The New York Times.

Ruth V. Small and Mega Subramaniam named AASL School Library Research Editors
AASL has appointed Ruth V. Small and Mega Subramaniam as co-editors of its peer-reviewed online journal, School Library Research (SLR). Small and Subramaniam assume the roles previously filled by Jean Donham and Carol Tilley. Small currently serves as professor and director of the school media program for Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies, of which she is the founding director. She also concurrently serves as a faculty associate for the Center for Research on Collaboratories and Technology Enhanced Learning Communities at American University. Subramaniam is currently the associate director for the Information Policy and Access Center and an assistant professor in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland.



Education News

FCC Reviewing E-Rate Program
The Federal Communications Commission is initiating a full review to modernize the E-Rate program. This revitalization is centered around three proposed goals:
  • Increased connectivity to high-capacity broadband
  • Efficient purchasing through bulk buying, consortia, and competitive bidding improvements
  • Cutting red tape to speed, streamline, and increase transparency in application reviews
Modernizing E-rate is critical for the future of our children and our citizens. The FCC encourages all to comment on the reform proposals so that it can ensure that schools and libraries have affordable access to the high-speed broadband they need in the most effective, efficient way possible.

Forecasting State Experiences with the Common Core State Standards
A report from the Education Trust uses data from the NAEP to compare student outcomes in particular states over the past decade to the nation as a whole. It finds that New Jersey, Maryland, and Massachusetts fostered high performance and strong improvement for all groups of learners in recent years. For these states, “the Common Core will be a stretch, but they have successfully stretched themselves before,” the report says. But other states will begin at a disadvantage. West Virginia performed significantly worse and improved significantly less than the nation for students overall. Oregon also showed below-average performance and improvement for students overall, low-income students, and Latino students.

Digital Technologies Have Positive, Negative Effects on Student Writing
An overwhelming majority (78%) of advanced placement (AP) and National Writing Project teachers surveyed by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project say digital tools such as the Internet, social media, and cell phones “encourage student creativity and personal expression.” However, the survey also found that teachers worry about plagiarism and informality in their students’ work.

Parents, Teachers Give Schools Failing Grade in Creative Teaching and Learning
A report from Adobe shows there is a growing concern that the education system is a barrier to developing the creativity that drives innovation. The study, titled “Barriers to Creativity in Education: Educators and Parents Grade the System,” reports that parents and educators agree that today’s education system places too much emphasis on testing and not enough investment in the training, tools, and time needed to teach creativity. It highlights the importance of preparing students to be innovators and how testing and government mandates are stifling creativity in the classroom.

Superintendants Have Mixed Feelings about Common Core State Standards, Technology
Many superintendents (58%) believe that the Common Core State Standards will provide more consistency in education quality, but some (30%) say the change will have no effect, according to a recent Gallup-Education Week study. In addition, 44% of superintendents strongly agree that the use of technology in the classroom increases student engagement. When asked if every student should have a laptop or tablet in the classroom to accelerate his/her learning, 37% of superintendents strongly agree.

9- and 13-Year-Olds Show Improvement in Reading and Math since 1970s
A report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) finds that both 9- and 13-year-olds scored higher in reading and math in 2012 than students their age in the early 1970s. However, the report also noted that 17-year-olds failed to show similar gains. The report offers a long-term trend assessment designed to track changes in the achievement of students ages 9, 13, and 17 since the 1970s.

New Criteria for High-Quality Student Assessments
A report from the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education offers criteria for high-quality student assessments. The report, titled “Criteria for High-Quality Assessments,” finds that new assessments should tap “higher-level” cognitive skills that allow students to transfer learning to new situations and problems. Assessments should evaluate critical abilities such as communication, collaboration, modeling, complex problem solving, research, experimentation, and evaluation, and tasks should measure these abilities as they will be used in the real world.

Transforming Teacher Professional Development to Professional Growth and Support
A report from Education Resource Strategies challenges school system leaders to expand the traditional definition of teacher professional development to one of professional growth and support, which can include any use of people, time, and money that bolsters improvement of teaching. The paper urges a more holistic approach to building teaching effectiveness that moves beyond training and is integrated into a larger school-improvement strategy.

Report Maps Young Americans’ Library, Technology Use
Nearly all young Americans under age 30 are online, and as library patrons, are more likely than older generations to use library technology such as computers and Internet connections, according to a report from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. Along the same lines, young Americans’ library use combines traditional and technological services.

BYOD Has the Potential to Expand in Next 5 Years
U.S. schools and universities still strive to expand their technology use, and postsecondary institutions often lead the way in technology integration, according to results from a survey presented during ISTE 2013. The 2013 survey asks about bring your own device (BYOD) policies in the classroom. The responses varied by education level, with only 20 percent of the elementary segment currently allowing devices in the classroom compared to close to half of the secondary and K-12 district segments. However, this gap may narrow in the next five years if participant expectations are accurate.

Research Shows Social Skills and Mixed-Language Play Help ELLs Learn English
A study provides evidence of the direct link between social and academic skill building during early childhood. In the article, “Understanding Influences of Play on Second Language Learning,” published in the most recent issue of the Journal of Early Childhood Research, Ruth Piker of California State University - Long Beach uses developmental psychologist Lev Vygotsky’s “concept of play as rule driven” to analyze how non-native English speakers develop skills in English through structured play with both native speakers and other dual-language learners.

Resources for School Librarians

Declaration for the Right to Libraries Documents Available Online
As part of ALA President Barbara Stripling’s Libraries Change Lives initiative, she developed a Declaration for the Right to Libraries to serve as a strong public statement of the value of libraries for individuals, communities, and our nation. The declaration is available to be downloaded in various sizes from her website Through this initiative, libraries of all types will have the opportunity in the next year to hold signing ceremonies where community members, organizations, and officials can visibly sign and stand up for their right to have vibrant school, public, academic, and special libraries in their community.

Tips to Help Schools Launch Successful STEM Program
STEM is a hot topic in education, and while many are seeking to establish programs in science, technology, engineering and math, success remains elusive for some, writes Doug Haller, principal of Haller STEM Education Consulting. In this blog post, he suggests that to launch successful STEM initiatives, schools first define STEM, provide teachers and administrators time and flexibility to work together, address potential barriers, engage outside partners early on and “don’t get hung up on the acronym.”

New Resource Helps Educators Teach with Digital Apps
A new service called Graphite offers a free online portal to help educators from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade find, use, and share the best digital apps, games, and websites for their students. Created by Common Sense Media with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the service contains objective ratings of apps and other digital learning resources from professional reviewers, along with reviews from dozens of “Graphite Educators,” teachers who are selected by Common Sense Media.

Tips for Classroom Collaborations with Outside Experts
Collaborating with outside experts helps students gain valuable insight but can be challenging for teachers, Philadelphia humanities teacher Joshua Block writes in this blog post. Block offers five tips he has learned when working with visiting artists. "Collaborations give our students access to experts and experiences that transform all of us, students and teachers alike," he writes.

How to Help English-Language Learners Master the Common Core State Standards
A blog post offers tips to help English-language learners understand classroom materials tied to the Common Core State Standards. First-grade teacher and former English-language learner Jane Fung writes that a low-stress environment works best for students and offers suggestions for supporting ELLs, such as creating opportunities for students to speak English while doing activities and giving students more time to respond to questions.

Grants & Awards

Race to the Top-District Applications Now Open
The U.S. Department of Education has finalized the application for the 2013 Race to the Top-District competition, which will provide nearly $120 million to support bold, locally directed improvements in learning and teaching that will directly improve student achievement and educator effectiveness. This year's competition invites applicants to demonstrate how they can personalize education for all students and is aimed squarely at classrooms and the all-important relationship between teachers and students. Applicants from all districts are invited to apply. These 4-year awards will range from $4 million to $30 million, depending on the population of students served through the plan. Interested districts must submit their intent to apply by August 23, 2013. Applications are due Oct. 3, 2013 with awards being announced no later than Dec. 31, 2013.

AASA National Superintendent of the Year
The American Association of School Administrators National Superintendent of the Year Program pays tribute to the talent and vision of the men and women who lead the nation’s public schools. Maximum award includes recognition and a $10,000 scholarship to a student in the high school from which the National Superintendent of the Year graduated. Any superintendent, chancellor, or top leader of a school system in the United States, Canada, or international school who plans to continue in the profession is eligible. Deadline varies by state.

Open Meadows Foundation Grants for Women and Girls
The Open Meadows Foundation is a grant-making organization for projects that are led by and benefit women and girls. It funds projects that reflect the diversity of the community served by the project in its leadership and organization that build community power; promote racial, social, economic, and environmental justice; and have limited financial access or have encountered obstacles in their search for funding. Maximum award is $2,000. Eligibility: 501(c)3 organizations with an organizational budget no larger than $150,000. Projects must be designed and implemented by women and girls. Deadline is August 15, 2013.

Siemens/The College Board Awards for Advanced Placement
Siemens Awards for Advanced Placement fosters intensive research that improves students' understanding of the value of scientific study and informs their consideration of future careers in these disciplines. Maximum award: $100,000 college scholarship. Eligibility: students must be enrolled in high school (grades 9-12) during the 2013-14 school year, individually or as a team. Deadline: September 30, 2013.

P. Buckley Moss Foundation Grants for Teachers of Children Who Learn Differently
P. Buckley Moss Foundation Education Grants aid and support teachers who wish to establish an effective learning tool using the arts in teaching children with learning disabilities and other special needs. Maximum award is $1,000. New or evolving programs that integrate the arts into educational programming are eligible. Deadline is September 30, 2013.

CVS/Caremark Community Grants
CVS/Caremark Community Grants are currently accepting proposals for programs, targeting children under age 21 with disabilities, which address health and rehabilitation services or enabling physical movement and play. Maximum award is $5,000. Nonprofits located in states that also have CVS stores are eligible. Deadline is October 31.

Mickelson/ExxonMobil 2014 Teachers Academy
The Mickelson ExxonMobil 2014 Teachers Academy offers a five-day program, with camp in New Jersey designed to provide third- through fifth-grade teachers with the knowledge and skills necessary to motivate students to pursue careers in science and math. Maximum award is an all expenses paid five-day program in July 2014. Third- through fifth-grade teachers from all over the United States are eligible. Deadline is October 31.

Fender Music Foundation Grants
Fender Music Foundation grants are awarded to music academies, schools, local music programs, and national music programs across America, particularly in-school music classes, in which the students make music; after-school music programs that are not run by the school; and music therapy programs, in which the participants make the music. Maximum award is $5,000. Eligibility: established, ongoing and sustainable music programs in the United States, which provide music instruction for people of any age who would not otherwise have the opportunity to make music. Deadline is rolling.

NCTM Using Mathematics to Teach Music
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Using Mathematics to Teach Music grant encourages the incorporation of music into the elementary school classroom to help young students learn mathematics. Proposals must address the combining of mathematics and music; the plan for improving student learning of mathematics; and the anticipated impact on student achievement. Maximum award is $3,000. Individual classroom teachers or small groups of teachers currently teaching mathematics in grades PreK-2 level who are also (as of October 15, 2013) Full Individual or e-Members of NCTM or teach in a school with a current (as of October 15, 2013) NCTM PreK-8 school membership are eligible. Deadline is November 8, 2013.

NSTA/Vernier Software & Technology Vernier Technology Awards
National Science Teachers Association Vernier Technology Awards recognize the innovative use of data collection technology using a computer, graphing calculator, or handheld in the science classroom. Maximum award is $1,000 toward expenses to attend the NSTA National Conference, $1,000 in cash for the teacher, and $1,000 in Vernier products. Teachers of science grades K-college are eligible. Deadline is November 30, 2013.

Discover Pathway to Financial Success Grant
Discover is investing up to $10 million in financial education, and any high school can apply for a grant toward a financial education curriculum. Applying schools must have implemented or be looking to implement a financial education curriculum; have a measurement tool planned or in place to assess participation in and comprehension of the financial education curriculum; and agree to share overall results of the measurement tool’s pre- and post-curriculum testing with Discover upon the program’s completion to assess what worked and what didn't. Maximum award varies. High schools in the United States are eligible. No deadline.

Partnership News

Jumpstart’s Annual Read for the Record Campaign Looking for Reading Partners
Jumpstart’s annual national campaign, Read for the Record (JRFTR), presented in partnership with the Pearson Foundation, is just around the corner. It is the one day of the year when millions of individuals come together to celebrate literacy and support Jumpstart in its efforts to promote early childhood education. This year’s Jumpstart’s Read for the Record campaign will take place on October 3 when children across the country and world will read the children’s book Otis by Loren Long. The campaign is also looking for others to join the campaign as Reading Partner. Signing on as a partner provides additional visibility benefits in gratitude for your support.

Support High-Speed Internet in Schools with Digital Learning Days “99 in 5” Campaign
Digital Learning Day has launched the “99 in 5” campaign, which calls for policy makers to connect 99 percent of America’s students to high-speed wireless Internet access within the next five years. School and organizations can take part by adding their name in support of the campaign at Broadband connectivity in schools and libraries is critical to achieving the higher college- and career- ready goals set for students across the United States.

Member Spotlight

Jody Pillar Named Connecticut Association of Schools’ High School Exemplary Educator of the Year
Jody Pillar, library/media director at the Gilbert School in Winchester Center, Conn., won the Connecticut Association of Schools' High School Exemplary Educator of the Year Award. Pillar, who has worked at Gilbert for 17 years, was selected among five finalists, according to Gilbert Principal Alan J. Strauss. Strauss nominated Pillar, who he said Pillar is involved with students and staff at all grade levels, especially in using modern technology for research.

AASL Hotlist

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