Saturday, May 29, 2010

Surrey To Reassign Teacher-Librarians

With an estimated 12.3 million dollar shortfall, Surrey School District is proposing to accomplish "most job reductions", " reassigning some 'non-enrolling' teachers (counsellors, librarians, career education and learner support teachers) to classrooms".

In addition to being objectionable for so many reasons, the reassignment of teacher-librarians from whatever they are doing now to "classrooms" is a difficult characterization, because what teacher-librarians are doing now is teaching students in the classroom that is the school library! Referring to this proposal as being one designed to reduce, "...staffing outside the classroom..." is inaccurate in regards to teacher-librarians when one considers the important role of teacher-librarians as teachers in the school library as a classroom.

According to the Surrey Teachers' Association, the district will make the following reductions to teaching staff in addition to other reductions and changes:
  • 13.0 FTE reduction in Learner Support positions
  • 8.0 FTE reduction in Teacher-Librarian positions
  • 10.0 FTE reduction in elementary Counselling positions
  • 6.0 FTE reduction in Curriculum & Instructional Services (CISC) and Student Support positions

Additionally, all remaining learning specialist teachers will no longer be replaced on the first day of an absence.

On May 20, 2010, with the support of the Surrey Teachers' Association, representatives of Surrey School District's teacher-librarians visited the B.C. legislature and presented to MLAs. The text of the Surrey teacher-librarians' presentation can be found here.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

"The Points of Inquiry" Draft Open for Comments

In 2007, the BCTLA formed an Information Literacy Task Force to develop a provincial learning outcomes for information literacy model.

The Task Force moved, over a period of three years, to deeper understanding of the importance of learners being able to think critically about resources, information, and their own questions; away from information literacy and the search for a right model for research for the BC curriculum to the capacity for drawing new knowledge from an inquiry-based approach to information, reading, and 21st-Century learning.

The BCTLA inquiry-based approach, termed "The Points of Inquiry", is:

  • framed by well-established and new understandings about learning including traditional literacy and the multi-literacies;
  • constructed as a model that works for reading as well as research;
  • framed by the learners as learning that seeks to explain or find answers to their own questions;
  • grounded in new and emerging technologies as tools for accessing, using, working with, and presenting information;
  • built developmentally between benchmarks and added to naturally at transition points in classrooms and in school libraries, in all disciplines, from Kindergarten to Grade 12.
The next step is to invite review and comment on "The Points of Inquiry". The intent is to take the feedback and use the information to inform a finalized version that will be ready for the BCTLA conference in October. From there, we can look to creating additional support pieces and in-service opportunities.

To review the draft document and make comments:

Deadline for comment: August 1, 2010.

Thank you to Lynn Turner, Moira Ekdahl, Michele Farquharson and Julie Robinson for their three years of work on this project!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Letters of Support from B.C. Librarians (BCLA, YAACS, PLIG)

Thank you to the BC Library Association, including the Young Adults and Children's Section (YAACS) and the Public Librarians' Interest Group (PLIG), for their support of the retention and increase of teacher-librarian staffing in British Columbia.

"The Young Adults and Children’s Section of the British Columbia Library Association (YAACS) would like to add its voice in support of the BC Teacher-Librarians' Association’s call to school boards to reconsider reductions of learning specialists including teacher librarians in many British Columbia school districts. These cuts are the direct result of educational funding cuts put forth by the BC provincial government ... We urge both the Ministry of Education and school boards to consider the impact of the loss of teacher librarians on the Premier’s goal to make British Columbia the most literate province in Canada and on the future success of their students and our communities".

For more:

Thank you once again to BCLA, YAACS and PLIG for their support!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Final Budget Decisions Made in Burnaby and Coquitlam

On April 27, the Burnaby Board of Education approved the 2010-11 district operating budget. The budget was approved with no cuts to school-based teacher-librarian staffing. Cuts in Burnaby did include 2.5 positions at the Burnaby District Library Resource Centre (DLRC). The 2.5 FTE positions are within the CUPE bargaining unit and include a cataloguer position and two clerks.

On May 4, the Coquitlam Board of Education also approved the 2010-11 operating budget for School District #43. Although cuts to non-enrolling staff including teacher-librarians was originally proposed in the first preliminary budget reduction recommendations, the approved 2010-11 operating budget does not reduce teacher-librarian or CUPE library staffing.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Karen Ferguson is 2010's BC Teacher-Librarian of the Year

The BC Teacher-Librarians' Association is pleased to announce that Karen Ferguson is the 2010 recipient of the BC Teacher-Librarian of the Year -- Diana Poole Memorial Award. This award honours a practicing teacher-librarian who is making an outstanding contribution to teacher-librarianship at and beyond the school level in British Columbia. Recipients of the award are teacher-librarians who have planned and implemented a school library program of such exemplary quality that it serves as a model and inspiration for others.

Karen Ferguson is the teacher-librarian and literacy department head at the largest middle school in B.C., Moody Middle School in Port Moody. At the school level, Karen ensures that the library program is in the school goals. She encourages school-wide daily silent reading and organizes many literacy programs including a yearly Literacy Day (“Literrific!”) and a “One School, One Book” program. She uses technology as part of her literacy work, maintaining a library website with award winning books, library program promotional information, and resources. She also maintains a Destiny library catalogue home page with databases, online encyclopedias, research and citation tools and websites selected to support specific units.

Karen Ferguson operates at the nexus of the school and all the students who walk through our doors come to know her and her passion for books and reading.

Karen very successfully collaboratively plans with teachers – units such as Ancient China, Earth Science and Extreme Environments are enhanced through Karen’s leadership and expertise in inquiry, literacy and resources. She has an amazing knowledge of young adult literature and an excellent relationship with Port Moody Public Library, which has included collaborating on author visits (e.g. Kenneth Oppel in 2008-09). Karen also participates on Moody Middle’s technology learning team and uses Web. 2.0 tools such as Jing – e.g. Karen’s story submitted by an impressed teaching colleague at “Stop repeating yourself. Say it again with video”.

The expectation at Moody Middle—Karen's expectation—is that
all students will become engaged in the magic and power of reading.

At the district level, Karen has been a member of two District Technology Focus Groups: one on the implementation of the Information and Communications Technology Performance Standards and one that developed the Coquitlam School District K-8 Learning With Technology Plan. She is currently providing expertise to the district as a member of the District Facilities Design Implementation Panel where she is focusing on assisting in the design of three new middle schools (two replacement buildings and one new school) including new libraries/learning commons.

Karen has also made unparalleled contributions through her decade-long work on the HogWild About Reading program that raises money for school library collections in the Tri-Cities. Karen worked with her principal at the time, Ross Davidson, to organize the first few years of the program which has gone on to raise over $140,000. She also was part of the team that originated the the annual Battle of the Books for SD43 middle schools with the support of Port Moody Public Library which culminates in District Finals at Port Moody’s Inlet Theatre. Karen continues to co-organize and to participate in Battle of the Books.

Karen is a dedicated professional teacher-librarian who
provides exemplary service to her school and the district.

Karen was a member of the BCTLA 2009 provincial Teacher Inquiry Group (Program for Quality Teaching) examining evidence-based practice in school libraries. She is currently Co-President of the Coquitlam Teacher-Librarians’ Association and was formerly the CTLA’s Middle School Representative. She assists in planning the CTLA’s annual presentation to the Coquitlam Board of Education. In 2008, Karen co-presented about the discrepancy of middle school teacher-librarian staffing and Library Assistant allocations which resulted in some increased staffing.

Add to all this and the responsibility of being the Humanities
department head and one wonders how she divides her time.

Karen is inspirational and supportive. She is a true leader and always willing to give of her time and expertise. She generously mentors new middle school teacher-librarians and seizes opportunities to promote library programs with district administrators, speakers, and community members.

Creative thinker, trusted colleague, willing contributor,
supportive collaborator, literacy expert and in the library and beyond
an invaluable resource and fellow learner.

BCTLA will be honoured to recognize Karen Ferguson as the 2010 recipient of the B.C. Teacher-Librarian of the Year -- Diana Poole Memorial Award at the 2010 BCTLA Conference on Friday, October 22, 2010 at Kelowna Senior Secondary School in Kelowna, B.C.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Tu Loan Trieu is 2010's New B.C. Teacher-Librarian of the Year

The BC Teacher-Librarians' Association is pleased to announce that Tu Loan Trieu (centre, with Coquitlam teacher-librarians Chantal Petiot and Karen Elkan) is the 2010 and inaugural recipient of the New BC Teacher-Librarian of the Year Award. The award honours a practicing teacher-librarian with under five years experience who has planned and implemented a school library program and/or school library services of such exemplary quality that either or both is serving as a model and inspiration for others.

Tu Loan is the teacher-librarian at Scott Creek Middle School in Coquitlam, B.C. In just her third year as a teacher-librarian, Tu Loan has adapted and developed innovative school library initiatives and has demonstrated amazing leadership and commitment. She
has initiative and drive, leadership capacity, passion for reading, and a love of teaching.

As her school’s Literacy Team Leader, Tu Loan has participated on the school-wide Reading Power action research learning team and has offered coordination and support to her school in the program’s implementation. She has implemented initiatives such as Literacy Day at Scott Creek Middle School (last year featuring author David Bouchard) and “One Book, One School” (this year featuring the school-wide reading of Schooled by Gordon Korman and a visit with the author at the Vancouver International Writer’s Festival) which has inspired other teacher-librarians to do the same.

Her students love her library and the leadership opportunities that she offers them and she empowers them to love reading. Scott Creek’s students are actively engaged in writing book reviews and literally run to the library whenever the announcement is made that new books are available. Tu Loan has not only inspired her students. Scott Creek’s 2010 SD43 middle school “Battle of the Books” entry, for example, consisted not just of a team of students, but also a team of teachers! In addition to being a driving force behind the successful Battle of the Books program, for the past three years Tu Loan has also helped to organize the district’s annual “Hogwild About Reading” charity drive for school library collections.

Tu Loan is booked months ahead of time to work with classes. In addition to promoting reading, she teaches technology and inquiry skills including notetaking and the use of databases. Tu Loan’s work with students and staff and the infusion of technology as part of her library program is evident on Scott Creek’s virtual library site. The site includes links to the library’s databases, book blogs, discussions, new titles, and reading and subject-area website recommendations. Tu Loan also contributes to the school as a basketball and rugby coach.

Tu Loan has consistently sought out opportunities to further grow and to share her knowledge. She is the current Co-President of the Coquitlam Teacher-Librarians’ Association. She has also been the CTLA Vice-President and Professional Development Representative, which included presenting to the Coquitlam Board of Education in 2008 on middle school library staffing. Tu Loan is also a past-BCTLA Chapter Councilor for Coquitlam (2007-08). As a mentor on the district Teacher-Librarian Mentorship Learning Team in 2008-09, Tu Loan demonstrated her own commitment to excellence in library curriculum and instruction, and supported new teacher-librarians in their learning. Recently, Tu Loan presented on literacy at Coquitlam’s Middle School Conference (Jan 2010). She is also involved in teacher-librarian inquiry through her current participation on the district Fourth Way Teacher-Librarian Learning Team, which is examining Andy Hargreaves and Dennis Shirley’s The Fourth Way: The Inspiring Future for Educational Change and is also focused on defining and articulating the purpose of teacher-librarians in the district.

Tu Loan is also a world traveller. This past summer, her travels took her to Thailand, where she not only saw much of the country but also arranged tours of school libraries. Her trip to Thailand resulted in wonderful contributions for Tu Loan’s very successful “Get Caught Reading” slideshow of images of Scott Creek teachers and students reading over summer vacation. Tu Loan not only modelled reading over the summer but also inspired numerous teacher-librarians to do a similar project this coming June!

BCTLA will be honoured to recognize Tu Loan Trieu as the 2010 recipient of the New B.C. Teacher-Librarian of the Year Award at the 2010 BCTLA Conference on Friday, October 22, 2010 at Kelowna Senior Secondary School in Kelowna, B.C.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Elimination of Teacher-Librarians in Langley

"It is clear that school libraries and teacher librarians are no longer a priority in Langley School District".

Langley Secondary School
School population: 1173
Teacher-librarian time: Cut in half to 0.5

H.D. Stafford Middle School
School Population: 675
Teacher-librarian time: Eliminated

"Langley's library programs have been cut to the bone and these cuts have left us battered and bleeding, wondering how we will survive to promote literacy in any way, shape, or form. We are reeling from provincial funding shortfalls and the double-whammy of the deficit budget".

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sharon Scott and Margaret Litch Receive the 2010 Val Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award

The BC Teacher-Librarians' Association is pleased to announce that Sharon Scott and Margaret Litch are the 2010 recipients of the Val Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award.

Sharon Scott is retired from the Vancouver School District. In her teaching career she was a classroom teacher, teacher-librarian and Cooperative Program Planning Teacher Consultant (Elementary). She also served in many roles on the Executive of the Vancouver Teacher-Librarians' Association. Upon her retirement in 1997, Sharon began to participate as a volunteer in the UBC Information Literacy Project. The Project is unique in Canada and through its delivery as a potion of a required elementary language and literacy course allows pre-service teachers to experience what it is like to to collaboratively plan with a teacher-librarian. In 2003, Sharon took on the additional role of coordinating all of the volunteer teacher-librarians who assist with the project. Over the years, her contributions both behind the scenes and directly with students have positively influenced thousands. Through her efforts as an exemplary educator in the Vancouver School District and as a volunteer and coordinator for the UBC Information Literacy Project, Sharon has made it possible for students and teachers from all over B.C. to become familiar with the role of the teacher-librarian.

After a thirty year career as an educator Margaret Litch retired a legendary teacher-librarian in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District. School libraries were and are her passion. Margaret is an advocate of Canadian children's literature and she has impressed many with the lengths that she would go to to put the perfect book into each student's hands. She was and is a mentor to student teachers and new teacher-librarians and a professional development leader and presenter. She continues to be deeply committed to the full service role of the teacher-librarian and to providing exceptional service to classroom teachers in support of curriculum planning. She was master at making the library the "place to be", shared ideas and expertise, established models and worked with others to help them to understand the role of the teacher-librarian. Margaret continues to present and advocate for school libraries. She also continues to mail book suggestions (one teacher-librarian commented that Margaret, "must know every book ever written!") to Nanaimo-Ladysmith teacher-librarians. They in turn unanimously nominated Margaret for the award.

BCTLA will be honoured to recognize Sharon Scott and Margaret Litch as the 2010 recipients of the Val Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award, at the 2010 BCTLA Conference on Friday, October 22, 2010 at Kelowna Senior Secondary School in Kelowna, B.C.