Skip to Main Content

National School Library of the Year Application 2021: Keystones

This is the electronic portfolio for the National School Library of the Year application for 2021 for Calvert County Public Schools.


  Second from Left: J. Sturge, S. Wolfe, and L. Lynn. J. Sturge stands with two finalists from Calvert County for the School Librarian of the Year award for the state of Maryland 2019.  CCPS has had at least one finalist every year since the award began!

This page will address the keystones for the NSLY application.  Additional tabs will be available for the Six Shared Foundations. 

On this page:

  • Mission, Vision and beliefs
  • Assessment
  • Dynamic Learning Environment
  • Scheduling 

Calvert County Public Schools has had at least one finalist every year since the award began.

Picture: Second from Left: J. Sturge, S. Wolfe, and L. Lynn. J. Sturge stands with two finalists from Calvert County for the School Librarian of the Year award for the state of Maryland 2019. 


Mission, Vision, Goals, Objectives

Our CCPS School Library Statement

Calvert County Public Schools (CCPS) believes that the school library is a unique and essential part of a learning community and that all learners should be prepared for college, career, and life.  CCPS believes that reading is the core of personal and academic competency and that intellectual freedom is every learner’s right.  To this end, all students will participate in a student-centered, inquiry-based school library curriculum.

As such, CCPS believes in the Key Commitments as outlined by the American Association of School Librarians: 

1. The school library is a unique and essential part of a learning community.

As a destination for on-site and virtual personalized learning, the school library is a vital connection between school and home. As the leader of this space and its functions, the school librarian ensures that the school library environment provides all members of the school community access to information and technology, connecting learning to real-world events. By providing access to an array of well-managed resources, school librarians enable academic knowledge to be linked to deep understanding.

2. Qualified school librarians lead effective school libraries.

As they guide organizational and personal change, effective school librarians model, promote, and foster inquiry learning in adequately staffed and resourced school libraries. Qualified school librarians have been educated and certified to perform interlinked, interdis­ciplinary, and cross-cutting roles as instructional leaders, program administrators, educators, collab­orative partners, and information specialists.

3. Learners should be prepared for college, career, and life.

Committed to inclusion and equity, effective school librarians use evi­dence to determine what works, for whom and under what conditions for each learner; complemented by community engagement and inno­vative leadership, school librarians improve all learners’ opportunities for success. This success empow­ers learners to persist in inquiry, advanced study, enriching profes­sional work, and community partici­pation through continuous improve­ment within and beyond the school building and school day.

4. Reading is the core of personal and academic competency.

In the school library, learners engage with relevant information resources and digital learning opportunities in a culture of reading. School librari­ans initiate and elevate motivational reading initiatives by using story and personal narrative to engage learners. School librarians curate current digital and print materials and technology to provide access to high-quality reading materials that encourage learners, educators, and families to become lifelong learners and readers.

5. Intellectual freedom is every learner’s right.

Learners have the freedom to speak and hear what others have to say, rather than allowing others to control their access to ideas and information; the school librarian’s responsibility is to develop these dispositions in learners, educators, and all other members of the learn­ing community.

6. Information technologies must be appropriately integrated and equitably available.

Although information technology is woven into almost every aspect of learning and life, not every learner and educator has equitable access to up-to-date, appropriate technology and connectivity. An effective school library bridges digital and socioeconomic divides to affect information technology access and skill.


American Association of School Librarians. 2018. National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries. Chicago: ALA.

lighthouse with the mission and vision

Calvert County Public Schools Statement

In 2017, Calvert County Public Schools released a 5 year strategic plan which was based on defining what we, as a district, hoped to accomplish in the next 5 years. 

The CCPS Mission:

Calvert County Public Schools has established as its mission a commitment to produce graduates who are responsible citizens with options and choices in the 21st century.

The CCPS Vision:

The citizens of Calvert County understand our free society requires educated and informed individuals who possess the skills needed to think critically, act intelligently and work creatively on matters of personal and common concern.

In the strategic plan were 5 pillars:

Promoting a culture of equity and responsibility for all students

Empowering schools with the support to meet the unique needs of their students

Supporting innovative approaches for instruction through personalized and differentiated professional learning for staff

Ensuring accountability for high expectations for student growth and performance

Together We Go Far

Calvert County Public School librarians work every day to ensure that we are providing and promoting a culture of equity to ensure that students are able to maximize their full potential and achieve at their highest levels.  We empower our school librarians to make decisions on collection development, lesson planning, and collaboration that is unique for their learning environment.  We innovate in our school libraries to explore beyond the status quo and we utilize evidence-based best practices to move our library programs forward.  School librarians in CCPS play an important role in collaborating with teachers to ensure that we meet the needs of our students: academically and emotionally. In our 3rd full year of implementation, our school libraries are addressing the needs of our school community in ways we could have never imagined before.

The CCPS strategic plan can be accessed here.



Continuous Assessment

As a district, we constantly assess and reassess our school libraries and our school library effectiveness.  As part of our assessment, our school librarians create and execute two growth goals yearly.  These goals are measurable goals which have a positive impact on our school library programs, but especially on the students that we serve. Our goals are monitored multiple times throughout the year.  School librarians conference with their school administrator on their goals and on the impact of their goals.  Frequently, we will set one specific goal that spans the district.  This allows us to see growth and assess our progress on a larger scale. 

One example of a goal that our entire school library community set was to conduct a diversity audit of the school library collection.  We started with one section of the library, and as the year progressed continued to examine our collection.  As a result of this assessment, we were able to place orders for books that were more windows and mirrors into the world than what was on our shelves in the past.  We were able to create more inclusive spaces and recognize the need to really weed our collections thoroughly.  Casey Grenier created an excel spreadsheet that allowed us to physically touch each book and analyze it for diversity.  She presented on this process at the Maryland Association of School Librarians conference in the fall of 2020. Attached to this link is her spreadsheet as she began the process. Our district worked with Follett to develop a way to look at the cataloging and MARC records to assist us in auditing our collections.

Another example of the district's commitment to constant assessment is the revision of our curriculum at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. In 2018, with the onset of the National School Library Standards, we made the decision to revise our curriculum and incorporate not only the NSLS but also the Social Justice Standards from Teaching Tolerance into our school library curriculum at all three levels.  This meant assessing what pieces of curriculum we could keep, what should get tossed, and what would need to be rewritten or created from scratch.  Using grant funds from Teaching Tolerance a small group of district school librarians came together to start the rewriting process.  What resulted was two pieces of new curriculum which were introduced in the fall of 2019 at the elementary levels and one area of new curriculum at the secondary levels.  We rolled in the new curriculum slowly in order to assess what worked, revise, and reassess where we felt we needed to go to make our curriculum as robust and student centered as possible.  We will continue to assess what works, what doesn't work and what needs to be changed moving forward and add additional pieces to our curriculum.  You can view some of our curriculum work at the links below for elementary school library. 

Elementary - Reading Literature and Community

Elementary - Media and Information Literacy

Due in the fall of 2021 - Inquiry, Exploration and Research and Creation and Design.

Dynamic Learning Environment

           Dynamic Learning Environment

The school library is a dynamic learning environment that bridges the gap between equitable access and opportunities for all learners. (p. 54)

Below is a general description of our dynamic learning environments. By clicking on the Shared Foundations tabs, the committee will see more evidence of the richness of our learning environments in each of the six Shared Foundations. 

The school libraries in Calvert County Public Schools are robust learning environments both physically and virtually! Our school physical libraries feature:

  • Comfortable seating and flexible environments
  • Charging stations
  • Coffee, tea, and cocoa at the high school levels                   
  • Self-checkout stations
  • Computer banks for catalog searching
  • Smartboards and robust technology

Our virtual library offers databases for each level including a nursing and physical therapy database for our Career and Technology Academy of Nursing and Allied Health Students. 

The slide show below shows our database virtual library offerings.


Virtual Library Resources - Slideshow of Virtual Library Resources

ABC Clio

Britannica Image Quest

Chilton Library

Capstone - Pebble Go, Pebble Go Next and Capstone Library

Encyclopedia Britannica

Fact Cite US History

Gale Academic One File

Gale Books and Authors

Gale in Context - Elementary

Gale in Context - High School

Gale in Context - Middle School

Gale Educator's Reference Complete

Gale in Context - Opposing Viewpoints

Gale General One File


Gale Literature Resource Center

Gale Science - Middle and High School


Proquest - Culture Grams

Proquest - Historical Newspapers

Proquest - Issues Researcher

Proquest - SIRS Discoverer

Proquest - US Newsstream

Scholastic Bookflix

Scholastic True Flix

Scholastic Watch and Learn

Sora - ebooks (connected to our public library for double fun!)

Teaching Books

Webpath Express


Virtual Library in Schoology

Link to our virtual libraries

Library Scheduling

Library Scheduling

Elementary Schools - Our elementary schools are scheduled on a fixed schedule of classes.  School librarians are on an A-E rotation and see students every week.  Students in elementary schools attend library 9 times during a 9 week quarter.  

Middle Schools - Middle school is scheduled on a fixed/flexible schedule.  Students attend class in the library to collaborate with the English Language Arts teacher either every 3rd week or 4th week depending on the building.  The rest of the time is flexibly scheduled to allow for maximizing the benefit of the flexible schedule.  The rationale for the fixed/flexible schedule stems from students having school library on a weekly basis in elementary school, and making the transition to a flexible model more subtle as they move into middle school.

High Schools - Our high school schedules are fully flexible models.  High school librarians can be found collaborating with teachers inside of the classroom as often as you find the classroom teachers in the library.  With the 1:1 device initiative that our district has undertaken, our high school librarians recognized the need to move instruction outside of the library and have made the library the most flexible place in the building - collaboration can take place anywhere and at any time. 

One Hour Lunch - Our high school libraries are busy places. Our librarians schedule activities and clubs during our one hour lunch shifts.  Students can enjoy board games, role playing games, maker spaces, unwind with friends or enjoy special events during lunch.  The Six Shared Foundations tabs will share more in depth examples. 

Please Note: During the pandemic, our school librarians have continued to provide services to our students and staff. From March 2020 till the end of the school year, school librarians provided lessons in Schoology for students and collaborated with teachers to ensure they understood the technology tools that would be needed to move forward.  Starting in the fall, school librarians taught virtual classes, and concurrently taught students at home and in school when we went to a hybrid model.  

Free Hit Counter