Category Archives: Schools

Pearl Harbor Primary Sources from the National Archives



Captured Japanese Photograph Taken during the Attack on Pearl Harbor, 12/7/1941. From the General Records of the Department of the Navy.

From the U.S. National Archives

As the Pearl Harbor anniversary approaches, the U.S. National Archives is sharing historical documents, posters, photographs, and more related to the attack and its impact on U.S. history.

On DocsTeach, the online tool for teaching with documents from the National Archives, you can find primary sources like maps and speeches – even images taken by the Japanese military during the attack that were later captured.

They also have online teaching activities related to Pearl Harbor. In Pearl Harbor Dispatch Analysis, students analyze the “This is Not Drill” naval dispatch sent from the Commander in Chief of the Pacific that announced the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The activity forces students to look for evidence to decode the true meaning of the message.

Or students can explore one of the most famous presidential speeches of all time – FDR’s “Day of Infamy” speech – by comparing it with its first draft in Two Versions of FDR’s Infamy Speech.

DocsTeach also includes audio, like this recording of FDR’s Fireside Chat After the Declaration of War on Japan. You can find more of FDR’s Fireside Chats on DocsTeach as well.

Survey Reveals COVID-19 School Library Landscape



School girl in protective mask in libraryFrom the American Library Association

As schools across the country make critical decisions about how to handle a variety of back-to-school scenarios, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) is collecting data from school librarians across the country to gauge the status of teaching, school library use, and school librarians’ roles as school/district plans continue to adapt to the pandemic.

The resulting snapshots provide insight into the school library resources and instructional role of the school librarian in physical, virtual, or hybrid settings to ensure teaching and learning. School librarians are serving students, other educators, parents, and the learning community.

The back-to-school snapshot survey that opened Aug. 5 and closed Aug. 12 revealed an increasing reliance on virtual resources. The vast majority of school librarians will encourage more use of e-books and online resources than pre-COVID.  However, print materials continue to be essential, with 94% of respondents on the school district level and 85% of respondents on the building level reporting that books would continue to be circulated. The demand for books is evident in the armfuls of books that students took home last spring as schools were closing. School librarians found ways to continue to provide books to students through the summer.  Despite the uncertainties and upheaval of families during these times, the survey showed that the majority of these items were returned to the school library.

Safety concerns about re-opening while the pandemic continues were on the minds of respondents, with the majority believing that exposure to students will greatly increase their risk of contracting the virus.

Respondents also voiced concerns about the difficulty of identifying students in need of non-academic support, as well as worries that remote learning has not provided them with the required level of research and digital citizenship skills essential for critical thinking and informed decision making.

Other topics covered by the survey (www.ala.org/aasl/pandemic) included school library budgets, many of which have been reconfigured to provide more online and virtual tools and resources.

The survey is just one tool AASL is using to provide resources to school libraries during the pandemic. Its pandemic preparedness page (www.ala.org/aasl/pandemic) contains the latest results from REALM studies for safety, shared stories about responses to COVID-19, professional development, and training resources and guidance from federal, state and local sources. The School Librarian Role in Pandemic Learning Conditions provides scenarios for addressing needs in a constantly changing learning environment.

School librarians are encouraged to attend AASL Town Halls that provide a way for school librarians to connect with AASL leaders and each other about the impact the pandemic is having on school libraries and the learning community. To register and view the archive, visit: AASL Town Hall: Leading Learning at  (www.ala.org/aasl/townhall).

Free resources are also available through the AASL Learning Library (all.aasl.org) , which offers webinars as well as issues of the association’s official journal, Knowledge Quest.

For more information, visit www.ala.org/aasl/pandemic.

The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.

Innovations in Learning Sessions Announced



The Wyoming Innovations in Learning Conference is an opportunity for educators to share and explore innovative teaching and learning practices for classrooms and distance learning environments, from kindergarten through higher education. This year’s event will be held online on November 5-6. Individual registration is $25.

The conference session schedule has been announced, and it includes great offerings such as:

  • Bringing the World to Your Classroom by Carol Garber
  • ISTE Standards: An Introduction by LeeAnn Lindsey
  • repl.it – A Versatile (and free!) Platform for Coding Projects by Anne Gunn
  • Ten Tips for Effective Virtual Classrooms by Joe Heywood
  • Creating Accessible Documents in the Age of Digital Learning by Shelby Kappler
  • How to Promote Active Learning with Assessment by Stacey Dickson and Cathy McGeowan.

You’ll find many more topics of interest on the full schedule.

Have an innovation in your school you’d like to share? Submit your proposal for the Wyoming Innovations Showcase. This part of the online conference will be held from 3-4 p.m. on November 5. The Showcase is an opportunity for districts, educators, and students to share education innovations they have implemented with colleagues from across the state. There are 10 Showcase spots available, with five offered at a time. All Showcase sessions will be recorded. Deadline to submit proposals is September 30, 2020.

This conference is hosted by the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE), the Wyoming Distance Education Consortium (WyDEC), the University of Wyoming, the Wyoming community colleges, the Wyoming State Library, and school libraries.

For more for information, contact Robin Grandpre at (307) 777-5315 or robin.grandpre1@wyo.gov.

WDE, UW Co-Sponsor Online K-3 Literacy Conference



The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) and the University of Wyoming (UW) will co-sponsor Embracing Literacy, a summer professional development opportunity focused on literacy practices. District- and building-level teams are encouraged to register and attend this outstanding opportunity to hear from many nationally-renowned literacy experts.

Embracing Literacy will be held virtually over a four-week span beginning Tuesday, July 21. Virtual sessions will be scheduled for Tuesdays and Thursdays during each week. Sessions will be recorded providing registrants unlimited access for ongoing review of session content.

Registration is $50, with an option to buy two tickets and get one free. The conference theme, Optimizing Learning for All: Supporting Evidence-Based Literacy Practices, provides the foundation for participants to learn more about the components that combine to create literacy. The implementation of screening, progress monitoring and various classroom practices will also be explored.

PTSB and UW credit is being pursued.

Nominate a Library Aide for RISE Award



Wyoming library aides qualify to be nominated for the 2020 Wyoming Recognizing Inspirational School Employees (RISE) Award hosted by Governor Mark Gordon and the Wyoming Department of Education. This award honors classified school employeess who provide exemplary service.

Nominate an outstanding library aide or other school employee by June 30, 2020. Nominees can be an employee who works in any grade K-12 as a paraprofessional, in technical services, skilled trades, and more. See the nomination form for details.

The top two Wyoming applicants will be forwarded to USED by November 1, 2020. U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will select a single classified school employee from among the nominees to receive the RISE Award by the spring of 2021. Governor Gordon will honor nominees and finalists. In addition, the USED will recognize the honoree and communicate his or her story in order to inspire excellence among classified school employees.

Q&A With Jennisen Lucas



Jennisen Lucas

Jennisen Lucas, district librarian for the Park County School District #6 in Cody, Wyoming, was recently elected as the 2021-2022 President of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL). She takes office as President-Elect on July 1. We asked Jennisen to share some of her thoughts about leadership, her goals, and the profession of school librarianship.

What made you decide to run for AASL President?

“It’s difficult to say no when people you admire ask you to step up, but, running really was my choice. This as a chance to boost our profession by adding my passion to that of others as we move forward in promoting our expertise. I’m very excited to work with the others elected to our new board.”

What do you hope to achieve as AASL president?

“As AASL president, I hope to work with the executive board and the membership to increase our voices. I truly believe in AASL’s new mission: “Every School Librarian is a Leader, and Every Learner has a School Librarian.” Our new strategic plan is about helping our membership see themselves as leaders and to help administrators see them in that capacity as well. I’m also hoping that this national position may be helpful to Wyoming by showing the administrators in Wyoming the importance of school library leadership.”

How did your state-level leadership positions prepare you for this?

“There’s no way I would have had the confidence to move into this type of leadership without the help of the amazing school librarians in Wyoming. When I moved here 11 years ago, I really didn’t think I was a leader. I thought of myself as a building-level librarian. But Wyoming is so small that we really all have to be leaders, and I grew in confidence as I found that my ideas were as good as everyone else’s. It could be any one of our school librarians in this position. We all have leadership skills. What I’ve realized is that the more involved I am in our associations, the more I learn, the more I grow, and the better I feel about being a school librarian.”

How have your colleagues in Wyoming encouraged or inspired you?

“I really want to thank my colleagues here in Wyoming for believing in me. I have been inspired by everyone I have met. We all have different strengths and are willing to learn from each other. I could write out a list of people and how they have inspired my teaching and leadership, but I’m afraid I would accidentally forget someone. It really is everyone!”

What does this mean for Wyoming on the national stage?

“It’s interesting to think about this opportunity as bringing Wyoming to the national stage. We’re such a small population state that it seems leadership on a national scale is a far-off dream. Wyoming has such a different lifestyle than many other states, partly due to our small population, and people sometimes dismiss ideas as being for more populous areas. Having a Wyoming leader can bring the importance of school librarians and equitable school libraries to Wyoming. One thing I’m excited about is that the 2021 AASL Conference — during the year I’ll be president — is scheduled to be just south of us in Salt Lake City. What an exciting time to bring our educational leadership around to the power of school libraries! We should start planning now to bring our administrators to Salt Lake.”

Is there anything you’d like to add?

“This is an exciting time to be a school librarian. I’ve seen more conversations with my school district faculties about copyright, ethics, digital resources, and equity of access in the past month than I think I have in my entire 18-year career. Education is changing, and school librarians have a chance to be at the forefront of this. I hope that with me on the executive board of AASL, it may inspire our other Wyoming School Librarians to stand and lead locally to turn Wyoming into a leader in this educational change. We are change agents, and we want all learners — including educators — to inquire, include, collaborate, curate, explore, and engage. This time of “crisis learning” is starting to highlight these skills. This is our chance to shine!”

Lucas Elected 2021-2022 AASL President



From the American Library Association

Jennisen Lucas

Jennisen Lucas, district librarian for the Park County School District #6 in Cody, Wyoming, has been elected as the 2021-2022 President of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL). Jennisen will serve as president-elect during 2020-2021 under AASL President Kathy Carroll.

“I’m so humbled to be a trusted leader in AASL, an organization that is made up of some of the most innovative and intelligent people I have ever met,” Jennisen said upon learning of her election. “Thank you. The world has certainly changed very rapidly in the past month. We are now at a crossroads in education in which the expertise of our profession is desperately needed, if sometimes still overlooked. Now is the time to rise to the occasion and assert our leadership skills, innovation, and flexibility and show what we know education can be. I look forward to working closely with our elected board and all AASL members to rise as the essential leaders we are. We are school librarians! We’ve got this!”

Jennisen is currently serving on the AASL Board of Directors as the Region 9 Director. Her most recent AASL volunteer involvement includes chair of the standards implementation committee, member of the school librarians as leaders position statement task force, and member of the leadership development committee. She has also served as an AASL Chapter delegate.

In Wyoming, Jennisen has been involved in both local- and state-level organizations. She has served as secretary and chair of the Wyoming Library Association School Library Interest Group and chair of the group’s Information Power Planning Committee. Jennisen has also held leadership positions in the Cody Reading Council and the Wyoming Indian Paintbrush Award Committee.

Full AASL election results can be found on the AASL website at www.ala.org/aasl/elections.

The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.

Free Virtual Event: Middle Grade Magic



Join School Library Journal for their Middle Grade Magic virtual summit, a day-long celebration and exploration of one of the burgeoning and most important areas of publishing for young readers: literature for children ages eight through 12 and beyond! This free, completely virtual conference takes place on Wednesday, April 8, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. MDT. CE credits will be available.

Learn more and register.

Attendees will get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at some of the most anticipated new titles for kids and tweens and have the opportunity to check out the virtual exhibit hall, chat directly with authors, download educational resources, and receive prizes and giveaways.

Can’t make the live date? No problem! The entire environment will be archived and available for up to three months.

April is School Library Month



National School Library month is a celebration of (you guessed it!) school libraries and librarians. Every April, school librarians are encouraged to highlight the role the library and librarians play in strong schools and academic success. You might have to take your celebration online this month, but you can plan for it now with help from the resources on the AASL website including free graphics to download and templates for proclamations from a variety of elected officials. There are also PSAs from the likes of Dav Pilkey, Jason Reynolds, Jeff Kinney, and more!

Need more? Check out this Top 10 Ways to Celebrate School Library Month from EBSCO. Some of them might have to be adapted with schools closed during the current crisis, but there are still some great ideas.