School Libraries (P-12)School libraries are deeply engaged in the implementation of the New York State P-12 Common Core Learning Standards.There is a well documented connection between student achievement and effective school libraries. The role of school librarians is evolving as they teach students information literacy to be savvy information consumers, producers and judges of appropriate content in all formats. School librarians increasingly collaborate with teachers in designing curricula, developing learning experiences, and providing technical infrastructure that are ideally placed to support differentiated instruction and facilitate special programs for the gifted as well as students with special needs. The school librarian is unique in that he/she addresses the depth and breadth of the entire curriculum, and leads in teaching a 21st Century curriculum of inquiry, problem solving and content creation. Models for Success:The best school libraries are fully integrated into the P-12 learning experience and are at the hub of each campus, reaching into every classroom as well as into students’ homes. Based on the research findings of the recent Information Brief: The Impact of School Libraries on Student Achievement published by the NY Comprehensive Center (August, 2011), it is clear that with the shift to the Common Core Standards and a commitment to five key elements of the Regents reform agenda, school libraries with certified school librarians play an important role in student achievement, curriculum development and instruction. Information and digital literacy is recognized as a critical aspect of each student’s education. The school librarian is a true educational partner with every teacher and administrator in providing the best possible learning experience for each child. Recommendations:The Board of Regents and State Education Department should formulate policy and regulation that will:
Adopt and implement a statewide information fluency curriculum framework, aligned with the New York State P-12 Common Core Learning Standards, which, through certified school librarians and a strong library program, will provide equitable access to information and digital literacy instruction and tools. Such a framework will further the schools’ ultimate goal of preparing students, beginning at the elementary level, with the literacy and digital skills and knowledge needed for career or college. (10)
Expand the existing Commissioner’s Regulations (91.2) to require an elementary school librarian in every school to strengthen instructional leadership in meeting the P-12 Common Core Learning Standards, and enforce library staffing regulations in all public schools. (11)
Create incentives to encourage school districts to actively expand and promote access to the school library collection of online resources, e-books, and Web 2.0 tools, available 24/7, to create learning and enrichment opportunities that reach beyond the school day and encourage year-round learning. (12)
Create incentives to encourage school districts to adopt flexible scheduling to support full academic day access to school librarians, school library resources and information and digital literacy instruction. (13)
Create incentives for school libraries to collaborate with other libraries and communities (such as public libraries, university and community college libraries) to result in full-time, full-year access to information that will further opportunities for all students. (14)
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