Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Does your admin know you are #FutureReady?

Pssst!  Your administrator is probably heading to the School Administrators of Iowa (SAI) Conference next week on the 3rd and 4th!  Wouldn't it be great to give him/her something to think about before heading to Des Moines?

The federal Office of Educational Technology has been working on a campaign to improve connectivity, access, professional learning, and innovation under the name Future Ready. One of their initiatives specifically addresses the role of Teacher Librarians in these efforts!

Be sure to check this out, and forward it on to your administration!  

Want specifics to suggest to your administrator about how they can support you and your #FutureReady-ness?  This great blog post, from Texas Teacher Librarian Carolyn Foote, titled "Unleashing the Power: Future Ready Libraries" lists many great ideas!

How can administrators help?
If you are an administrator, how can you support librarian as leaders? Think of the list below as a starting point for optimizing the role of your librarian.  The students deserve this educational powerhouse on their side.
  • Contemplate your own stereotypes about libraries and talk with your librarian about them.  How can you work as partners to bring change to your school?
  • Add your librarian to your campus leadership committees and district leadership committees.
  • If you have an energized librarian, empower them.  If you have a librarian willing to learn, support them.  If you have a librarian who needs to grow, grow them.  
  • Send librarians to conferences that grow their leadership abilities (Like SLJ Summit, ISTE, Learning and the Brain, NSBA, NASSP, Tech Forum, state Library conferences, Makerspace conferences, Edcamps, and more).  
  • Share technology funding with the library since it is used by all students as a way of building equity of access and innovation in the library space.
  • Provide adequate staffing in the library including paraprofessionals and certified librarians so that the librarian can participate in school leadership teams, collaborate with teachers effectively, run new initiatives, and be mobile and flexible.  While librarians can lead from all over the school, the space that librarians manage is also a hub for learning–so there must be enough support to both effectively run the library as well as allow the librarian to be mobile.
  • Rethink the elementary “rotation” so that librarians have more time to work flexibly with a variety of students and to collaborate with teachers and school leaders.
  • Build equity into the school’s resources by adequately funding library resources, (both digital and print) to be sure ALL students at a school have access.
  • Incorporate librarians into space planning (both of library spaces and other collaborative spaces.). Of most staff on campus, they probably have put more thought into space planning and creative design than most of the rest of the staff due to the nature of their jobs.  (It is surprising how often librarians are not part of the library design at new schools, for example).   
  • Engage the role librarians can play in building the “genius” in our students through personalized learning opportunities–the library truly is the anti-silo of the school, where students can choose their learning.
  • Draw upon librarian expertise in regards to internet filtering for best practices and freedom of student access.
  • Support your librarian’s efforts to build a PLN online that can benefit the whole school community. 
  • Draw on your librarian’s knowledge in curation and organizing to help with curricular tasks like building local OER materials for the district, materials on copyright, new tech and research tools, etc.
  • Include your librarian as an expert provider of PD, or invite librarians as keynoters or trainers on topics of all sorts in your district–new tools, research instruction, engaging student readers,etc.  A powerful way to disseminate best practices to students is through librarian’s outreach to teachers.
  • Use your library as a place to build a PD collection of materials for teachers and teacher collaboration areas.