Friday, February 10, 2017

Deadline to Comment on ESSA Draft Plan--FEBRUARY 15, 2017


The first draft of Iowa's Plan for implementation of the ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) is available until February 15th for review and comment. I urge you to go look through the draft and make comments online regarding the role of teacher librarians and effective school library programs.

The fast way to do this is to go to the plan and search for all mentions of libraries and librarians and read what they have planned. Then go to the online survey to make specific comments. Director Wise recommended that when commenting about language that suggestions be made such as, "In section 4 on page 48, amend the language under ENVIRONMENT, Physical Environment to read, "The extent to which school facilities are adequate, [add]equitable, clean, and up to date."

I attended the ESSA meeting with Director Wise and Associate Director Tilly in Marshalltown, and listened to their explanations of the plan. I urge you to comment. 

Thanks to the work of Christine Sturgeon, Becky Johnson, Val Ehlers, Sarah Staudt, and others in our organization, our voice has been heard loud and clear. But we cannot afford to go quiet. 

The second draft is slated to appear in May. The final draft is due in September. Implementation will likely be 2018-19.  

Friday, January 27, 2017

Book Review: Heartless

Living in the kingdom of Hearts, Lady Catherine loves baking and would love to open her own bakery with her best friend.  But her family expects her to marry the King of Hearts, who is perfectly nice but also slightly foolish.  Cath has no hope of making her dreams come true...until she meets the new mysterious court joker, Jest, and her dreams start to change.  Can she really sacrifice love for family duty?

Heartless is Marissa Meyer’s new work, set in the world of Alice in Wonderland (before Alice).  As in the Cinder series, there are many references to characters and ideas in the original, from the Cheshire cat to the Mad Hatter’s tea party to the looking glass between worlds, but with Meyer’s own twists. This new work starts to flow more quickly than her previous series, but if the reader doesn’t know much about Alice in Wonderland, they may not pick up on some of the foreshadowing.  Good for readers who enjoys twisted or fractured fairy tales.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

American Library Association's Youth Media Awards

Yesterday, the American Library Association announced this year's Youth Media Awards! If you haven't had the opportunity, be sure to check out the lists here: ALA 2017 Youth Media Award Winners.

And don't miss the opportunity to discuss these award-winning titles! Connect with other Midwest Teacher Librarians tonight (January 24) through #mwlibchat on Twitter!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Honoring our Retirees - Deadline Approaching!

Do you know an IASL member who is retiring this year?

Please complete this form so we can recognize their service at the spring conference!

Deadline for being recognized at the conference is February 1st!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

ESSA meeting update

The statewide Iowa  Department of Education meetings will start with a presentation of the first draft of the plan and how it was developed. At the end there should be an opportunity to speak.

Upcoming meetings will be held at:
Jan. 12, 2017 - Heartland AEA, Ames, 511 S. 17th St - Join by video conference 
Jan. 17th, 2017 - Mississippi Bend AEA, Clinton and Northwest AEA, LeMars.
Jan. 18th - Oelwein HS
Jan. 19th - AEA 267, Marshalltown
Feb. 2 - Prairie Lakes AEA, Pocahontas

Here are some things you might consider saying:

"Thank you for mentioning effective school library programs in the first draft of your ESSA plan.

"I and other school librarians hope that you will consider including effective school library programs - consisting of a certified teacher librarian, a paraprofessional assistant, and current, relevant materials – as one of your Accountability Systems Indicators in Section 4.1.A of your plan.

"Additionally, I would ask that you consider encouraging the use of school improvement funds to increase library staffing and keep school libraries open in the evening and through the summer months to promote academic engagement in a literacy-rich environment. This would help schools provide extended learning time for struggling students as required in Section 4.3B."

Also give a personal story or anecdote about how you and your library make a difference.

I would greatly appreciate you sharing with me what happens at the meeting, including how many people attend and what they speak about. You can email me at 

For more details on the statewide tour, check out this link.

Thanks again!

Becky  Johnson 

Monday, January 9, 2017

2017-2018 Book Award - Ordering Now Available

It's officially time to order the IASL Book Award nominees for 2017-2018.

Order forms should arrive at your school this week. You can also find everything you need on the AEA Purchasing site.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Join the #FutureReady Libraries Facebook group

Are you a #FutureReady Librarian?

Join the #FutureReady Libraries group via Facebook and join in the conversation!

To join, click here!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

ESSA First Draft Posted

School Library Programs are listed as an additional opportunity Iowa school districts should consider in order to provide a well-rounded education for students in the first draft of the Iowa Department of Education's Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan released Friday on the IDOE web site.

The IDOE also anounced it is holding statewide informational meetings Monday, Jan. 9, through Thursday, Jan. 19, at different AEA sites and virtually through Zoom video conferencing.

For more details on the statewide meetings, go to this link from the IDOE website. To go directly to the meeting schedule,  click here. All meetings start at 5 p.m.

In Iowa's ESSA plan, School Library Programs are listed as an example of one of the "additional opportunities that the IDOE will encourage districts to consider" as a way to "further student opportunities to obtain a well-rounded education."  This means that districts may use money from ESSA for School Library Programs but they are not required to do so.

Iowans are invited to provide feedback on the first draft in an online survey through Feb. 15 or in person during the statewide meetings in January. Feedback can also be submitted via email at or by mail: Iowa Department of Education, Attn. Deputy Director David Tilly/ESSA Feedback, Grimes State Office Building, 400 E. 14th St.,Des Moines, IA 50319-0149. The IASL task force will be working on an official response with our consultant from

The document is 198 pages and includes summaries of all statements at both public meetings and the meeting the DE held from its issue-specific meeting with representatives of IASL in November. School libraries and librarians are well  represented in the IDOE's feedback section of this document.

Click on the link below to see the entire draft:
ESSA First Draft   

IDOE officials said they will consider feedback submitted in preparing a revised draft they plan to release in May 2017.