INCLUDE: Demonstrate an understanding and commitment to inclusiveness and respect for diversity in the learning environment.
In 2017, our school library professional development started off the year with thinking about our WHY. Why do we do what we do? Why are we librarians? After much thought provoking conversation and thinking about who our students were and what our goals were for our students, we started to think about how we could create collections which were much more diverse in authors and subjects. Our journey continued over the course of the next few years and still continues today. As a group, we made a decision to start a diversity audit with our biography collections and really dove into what our collections looked like. What we found was horrifying. We needed to make change. And, we needed to move quickly. Weeding began. Ordering began. Saved book lists began.
We then worked with our Follett representative to tell him what we needed in order to get a baseline of our collections. This is a work in progress and we are still growing. As you can see from our collection development reports and images, CCPS is moving toward a more diverse book collection.
Our elementary curriculum begins the year with exploring how the library is a community. Students gather to learn about each other, the library, and the school community. In Kindergarten we start the year with the book All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold. This sets the tone for the year by promoting acceptance. Our curriculum is closely tied to the AASL National School Library Standards and the Teaching Tolerance Standards. You can read more about our curriculum by clicking on the curricular link below. You can also read more about the work we are doing to INCLUDE by clicking on the article title and reading an article published in Knowledge Quest on our mission to INCLUDE every learner in the school library and celebrate the diversity and honor our heritages.
Our middle and high school librarians participated in training to become certified as "Autism Friendly" spaces in order to promote and provide safe places for students to spend time during lunch and free periods. Additionally, our school libraries are looking at ways to become havens for students who need support, a safe place to stay, and someone to listen. Our middle and high schools proudly have GSA clubs in our buildings, and our libraries are part of ensuring that there are materials for students available who are LGBTQIA+. These resources include both print and online materials. As one high school librarian mentioned "Students may not feel comfortable physically checking out a book - having an online format allows them to check out a book anonymously and protects privacy.
In an additional step to protect our students privacy, we have set up self checkout stations in our libraries so that students can have the ability to check out materials without assistance from an adult or an additional set of eyes.
Image: Ms. Younkers stands on a desk during standing room only Read Woke kick off
Image: Tom Currier, Computer Science teacher rounds up his Read Woke book club group
Image: Packed house for Read Woke kick off
Image: Jason Reynolds (R) and a Keegan (a student at Beach Elementary) chat about what Mr. Reynold's older brother got in trouble doing when he was young.
Image: Everyone is welcome at lunch. We include everyone for a giant game of Uno.
Image: First annual Read Woke Kick Off
Image: Students with Read Woke bingo cards
Image: Student utilizing self-checkout during Read Woke
Image: Plum Point Middle Students preparing to include kindergarteners in their love of a good book!
Image: Student Library Pages celebrate with a pizza party. We include students in our library day to day operations!
Image: PHS Girls Place at the Table members checking out books during Read Woke
Image: Wrenn Heisler, Nita Poremski, PHS teachers and PHS librarian, Khristi Jenkins host Read Woke event
Image: Students and faculty after Read Woke book club luncheon
Image: Bulletin Board to kick off Read Woke
Building off the inspiration of Cecily Lewis and her READ WOKE idea, CCPS instituted Read Woke in 2019. All of our middle and high schools participated with Read Woke events and our younger students participated in what we called World of Words. Students were enthusiastic. Events included daily prize drawings, bingo cards, teacher sponsored book clubs, and an invitation to participate in the joint partnership Read Woke event at the public library. As you can see from the pictures, we had some amazing conversations around books. At Patuxent High, staff and students read Angie Thomas' The Hate U Give and had a lunch discussion complete with local pizza legend Ledo's Pizza and salad. You can read more about it with this post. Huntingtown High School was literally standing room only for their kick off event which featured book trailers of each Read Woke book club book chosen and sponsored by a classroom teacher. Read more about the book trailer idea here. Calvert High had students scurrying into the library for popcorn and goody bags and to check out a book - books were recommended by teachers and clubs were sponsored. One student, who had never checked out a book from the library was overjoyed to check out Michelle Obama's Becoming. She said she felt like the library saw her and knew what she needed in that moment. This truly had a lasting and inspiring impact on our community and we continued it into 2020 even with the pandemic shutting down schools - our events just turned virtual!
Image: CCPS has librarian run broadcast clubs in each building. This group is from Calvert High. Students run the news shows in our elementary, middle, and high schools.