February 9, 2020

The 2020 Newbery Award Committee



I now present to you, the 2020 Newbery Award Committee!


For the past year and a half, I’ve committed myself to serving on the American Library Association’s, Newbery Award Committee. Each year, committee members are charged with selecting the very best in children’s literature.  It was a privilege to be on this committee and I was so proud to have served with such a distinguished, insightful, experienced and a professional group of librarians. Together we debated, listened, drew on our expertise and laughed. 


Our combined expertise in children’s and young adult literature was mighty powerful. Together we named the top books in children’s literature for 2020 (see the pictures). This hard work will go down in history impacting children for years to come. That alone makes me shed tears of joy!  I’ve learned SO much from Krishna, Karen, Mary, Jenna, Julia, Soraya, Dr. Alpha, Dr. Petros (I will be Dr. one day!) Beatriz, Deanna, Christopher, Sandy, Eileen and my cool dude Dennis (we had some good laughs)! It was a wonderful experience working with these professionals and a moment in my life I will never forget.


Easy Like Sunday Morning...Twitter Threads

Sharing some very early morning musings I shared on Twitter recently.  The following is a collection of frustrations school librarians often experience.  While some reflect first hand experiences, others are those from some of my peers within the field.  School librarians are still logging onto Twitter, viewing the thread and have been in 'amen corner.'  It's amazing how simple musings can spark discussion. 

School librarians often take these frustrations on the chin and work around these challenges.  It is when we convene together in meetings or private forums online do we share some of our inner most feelings.  Keep in mind, we are the only people within our buildings that have this unique experience and do not have a co-teacher who would totally understand what we are experiencing.  No one's challenges supersedes another within K-12 education,  ALL OF US STRUGGLE!   The goal of my tweets and this post is to provide a little window into the life of a school librarian.  #SchoolLibrarianStruggleBus















January 12, 2020

Easy Like Sunday Morning: Dr. MLK and His Influence on the Civil Rights Movement


...and so we begin.  Lessons, activities and displays  that celebrate #MLK and ‘A Day On, Not A Day Off,’ D.C. events.   *All books that appear in the picture have a copyright date  prior to 2019.  My theme is:  Dr. MLK and His Influence on the Civil Rights Movement. 


Check out the following website for more resources 👉🏾https://www.nationalservice.gov/serve-your-community/mlk-day-service 




Dr. King’s Birthday also represents my schools’s kick off of Black History Month celebrations.  Here’s two programs that have been scheduled so far.  








December 27, 2019

Watch Us In 2020!

Jefferson Academy students began their training using 35mm cameras, the @DoInkTweets app & building worlds in MineCraftEducation before winter break.  Watch our students in 2020, their digital projects will amaze you!😎   Our Makerspace will be lit! 🔥 




December 22, 2019

Easy Like Sunday Morning: Just A Friendly Reminder...


     There’s allot of things that I’ve been reflecting on since school ended on Friday.  My greatest challenge this school year so far has been to rebuild my school’s library program.  This involved me physically organizing/re-shelving books for my school’s new  library.  This rebuilding also included moving towards a change in view that the library is more than a ‘meeting’ space or activity area for large groups of students/adults.  This re-building also meant that I had to say, ‘No,’ to teachers/staff because we all need to work towards utilizing the ‘program’ to its maximum potential instead of falling back into ‘old habits.’  By no means is my library program ‘perfect,’ growth in mindset of the program and my role is still on the agenda as we head into 2020.


     This brings me to a New York Times article that was written by Erica L. Green and Dana Goldstein back in October of 2019.  The article, ‘Reading Scores On National Exam Declines In Half The States.’  I can remember how I initially cringed when I read the title of the article that was widely circulated on social media. Now months later I’ve processed it and have a deeper view.  
     The authors highlighted two standouts of all of the 50 states and Washington D.C.  Mississippi’s fourth  grade reading scores improved and caught up to the national average.  Washington D.C.’s 8th grade scores jumped three points but were still below the national average.  Now I learned a valuable lesson while working at Phillips High School:  celebrate all  academic gains, this means whatever you are doing right, continue the practice. So, I’m celebrating those three points. 

     











     I can’t comment on what Mississippi is doing right, but I have a little insight on my district that was highlighted in the article.  This is my third urban school district I’ve worked for and my third year working for the District of Columbia Public Schools System.   Though the authors did not articulate this in the article, school libraries and school librarians were a part of the success of the improvement in reading scores for 8th grade.   So essentially I’m viewing this with ‘fresh eyes, and of all of the districts I’ve worked for, DCPS is on point. Here’s how I see it:

8th Grade Improvement in Reading Scores:  Washington D.C.
1.)  Strong school library programming in all schools.
2.)  Certified/university degree school librarians
3.)  Dedicated school library budget for new books.
4.)  Leadership at the district level (Assigned Manager and Director of Libraries)
5.)  Targeted professional development for school librarians and encouraged use of PLN’s (personal learning networks).
6.)  Access and use of various platforms of technology by school librarians to support and help drive  classroom instruction.
7.)  District supported school librarian leadership opportunities within and outside the district. 
8.)  Classroom libraries that further encourage students to seek expanded and additional resources from the school library collection. 
9.)  Use of middle school or young adult bibliotherapy/social emotional themed books for leisure or book club reading.
10.)  Ongoing partnerships with library programming with the District of Columbia Public Library System. 

     Some of my district colleagues may argue some of the above ten items still need some sizable improvement.   Others may argue all ten items on my list are not present in their school, guess what?   All ten items are not present in my school either but collectively as a district, there is evidence that they are there and working.  I agree 100%, there’s always room for improvement, and I’m looking at this critically.  In my opinion, what should be noted is the staffing, funding, support and programming that is in place and how it has had an impact on reading.  What also should be noted is there are other districts across this country that have all of the above ten components of a strong library program in place but were not highlighted because the article focused on states and not so much on districts.  
     I want to be crystal clear about this: school librarians are not looking for the fanfare ‘public accolades,’ for their work. More so, just a simple acknowledgment that the work that we do everyday to support academic achievement in our schools/districts is a part of the success equation and is noted and appreciated.  

 

December 15, 2019

Easy Like Sunday Morning: The Last School Week of 2019

     Here we are, the last school week of 2019.  It's hard to believe that the school year is half way over.  Because I'm mentally drained, I'm not going to reflect on the last 6 months now, I will do so during my winter break.  In the mean time, I'm going to share a couple of highlights from the month of December with you during this week.

    My first highlight is a recent discovery through my favorite PLN (personal learning network) Twitter.  I saw this on Amanda Jones' feed, lost my mind and decided to order one for myself.  It's a LED programmable scrolling pin...yes the uses for this in a library program are endless.  I chose to pair this with my last and final push for winter break leisure reading.  I shared a booklist with my teachers and parents to reference while selecting books to read/purchase over the holiday break.  (you will not see this list, I'm currently serving on the Newbery Selection Committee!).   In addition, I sent my last meme of the year encouraging teachers to schedule time for their classes to visit the library and check out books to read during the break.   All of this is done in the name of READING!


   As I mentioned somewhere on one of my social media feeds, I have a Amazon.com addiction.  I really need to remove the app from my iPhone!  Here's the ordering specs., but please keep this in mind, there are several LED pins to choose from, just identify the one that will best serve your personal needs.

    Until next time!  



December 1, 2019

Easy Like Sunday Morning: School Librarians United Podcast



     I had a great time talking with Amy Hermon, host of the School Librarians United Podcast .  I have been interviewed before but this interview was really special.  I spoke at length about what inspires my drive to work hard serving school children/communities and some experiences that have defined me as an educator.  

     The podcast can be found on the School Librarians United website and also on the Apple podcast menu.  Many thanks to Amy for her commitment to this platform of supporting school librarians and the work that we do for our students.   



November 24, 2019

Hang In There!

You know this week is going challenging on many levels.  The holidays can be tough for some of us and the stress from the job can be very difficult for others.  This week, take a moment to check in with a friend or online colleague to see how they are doing.  Someone can benefit from a kind word or even virtual hug.  Together, we can do this!

Hang in there! 
K.C. (Boss Librarian)
#KC_SaidIt 






Easy Like Sunday Morning: Ms Boyd’s Poor Memory

Lately, my response to students and staff members has been, ‘I forgot, charge it to my poor memory and not my heart.’   Here are a couple of posts that I TOTALLY forgot about.  

I am looking forward to going back to Chicago for the holidays.  I need a break and to re-charge.  


My friend sent me a monetary donation for these beauties for the windows in my Makerspace.  I’ve thanked him personally, here’s my public thank you😎


My new table layout in the fiction reading room.  Children aren’t sitting on top of one another anymore!


These lovelies met me at the Makerspace door at 7:45am.  
Mind you, school doesn’t begin until 8:25am 😎


Top Patrons and Honor Roll Students - Quarter #1

Day of the Dead Art



October 27, 2019

Easy Like Sunday Morning: The #SchoolLibrarianStruggleBus

As much as it seems like I have it all together, honestly I don’t. When one visits my library media center/Makerspace you will see books placed neatly in order on the shelves, displays, and a burst of colors that are pleasing to the eye.   What you don’t see is the frustration in developing a program, display, activity or de-escalating stereotypes or major ‘asks,’ from the principal/staff.  

If there’s one thing I am is a very creative person.  I come up with my best ideas in the morning and jot them down in the notes section of my iPhone.  This area of my phone is filled with tons of ideas.  Some I’ve implemented, others I’m still developing.   I can also create something on the fly and run with it. Sometimes it’s very successful and sometimes not.  Despite this, I continue to push the envelope of on-the-fly/creativity because those are usually examples of my best work.  

Yesterday morning, I saw a Twitter post from someone I follow that expressed their frustration with a patron that used a piece of gum in the book as a bookmark and left it in the book for the circulation desk librarian to remove....eeeew right???  I started thinking, school librarians have some pretty unique and funny things that we experience.  Some are highly relatable and represent a unique struggle that public, academic and special librarians don’t experience.  

I created the hashtag #SchoolLibrarianStruggleBus on the fly yesterday morning and posted ten examples of it on Twitter.  The responses and DM’s I received were hilarious.  That said, I want to share them here along with a couple more that really describe our pain and downright funny situations we find ourselves in as school librarians.  Remember this is all in good fun, the posts are based on my current and past experiences (I have to say that because my co-workers follow me online) so enjoy and comment.

Until next time....

#dcpslibrariestransform #dcpslibraries #tlchat #schoollibrary #schoollibraries #schoollibrarians #LibraryMediaSpecialist 

#TrojanLMCMakerspace 


How I look when visitors in my library media center say to my face, ‘Well, you don’t look like a librarian!’....*sigh #SchoolLibrarianStruggleBus

Eating way too much of your parent give-away candy for SLC Night. - #SchoolLibrarianStruggleBus


When my students are having an ‘off behavior’ day and you have to say this phrase after making an example out of one of them. #SchoolLibrarianStruggleBus


When your darling cat named Daisy Lee insists on destroying your Golden Pathos propagation project. - #SchoolLibrarianStruggleBus


When you are asked to watch students during your lunch break and the person asking clearly sees that you are eating and says, ‘Well they can sit over here on the side and they won’t bother you.😤 - #SchoolLibrarianStruggleBus


When a staff member is clearly trying to ‘unload’ students from their watch and they bring them to you stating, ‘The students can help you shelve books and do anything during the period!’ - 
#SchoolLibrarianStruggleBus