Reflection#1) My first interview was May 18, 2005, with a librarian named Dianne Kimball. Dianne was an attendee at the SLJ Summit, and because this summit was a new initiative, the fine folks at SLJ wanted feedback as to what made it successful, and how we could keep the conversation going. But the fact that I wasn’t a librarian made some eyebrows raise and caused some ruckus – and for me lots of undue stress. E-mails came in and insults were thrown. That’s when someone said to me, "if you are going to be a blogger, you must have thick skin." Got it.
Here’s Dianne’s interview:
Part of what made the Summit so powerful and inspiring was having the chance to sit and speak with people from all across the educational spectrum, interested in achieving the same goals. After reading through the first wave of VSB comments, I sent Dianne Kimball some post-Summit questions. A little about Dianne: she is the Library Media Specialist from the Yalesville Elementary school in Yalesville, CT., and has some exciting interdisciplinary learning initiatives happening at her school. Something dear to me are newsrooms in schools. Dianne’s students have daily news programs produced on Power Point that showcase events throughout the school. Dianne also informed me that by using video and digital cameras recently at her school, she and her students were able to capture and deliver breaking news: seeing the school’s chicks hatch. Yalesville also has a video distribution system that allows for broadcast videos and DVDs to be viewed from a central location in the LMC.
A.B. What did you take away from the Summit and how has it impacted your own goals at your school?
D.K. "I came back from the Summit knowing that I was part of a much larger community with common goals and concerns. I also felt a burden lifted from my shoulders, in some way. I always struggle here in my school to do and be so much, but have never felt there was any bigger power or influence that can truly impact my daily endeavors. I know that here in our own schools we can do those daily little things that impact students and parents and change attitudes slowly, person by person. It is very comforting to know that Evan St. Lifer and the powerful and influential people that surround him in this endeavor, including, we the individuals–and very important–LMSs can count on others to "sing our song" on a much higher level. I felt renewed by being able to continue to attain and set goals as well as to make new goals, knowing that my small acts will combine with similar acts across the nation and be heralded by our professional journal, our academics and our researchers. The other part of relief comes from the acknowledgment that we do have concerns that are valid and heard. We are not perfect, but we have a vision of what we can accomplish if we can overcome some of the hurdles: budgets, facilities, clerical help, recognition or our purpose in education etc. A Summit is a powerful thing in affirming our highest hopes and deepest concerns."
A.B. How does the library and technology impact curriculum planning at your school? Is it teacher, librarian or administration driven?
D.K "The management teams are headed by administrators. The members are interested teachers from all levels, usually one from each building. Our L/M/T team has written local curriculum based on state and local standards. WE plan to revise in 2007 on a schedule of curriculum revision for the whole district. Our management team minutes are distributed to the whole district (500 teachers) each month. A Curriculum Council (mostly administrators) acts on all management team recommendations.
WE have worked off 3 5-year plans to integrate technology hardware, software, and networking, and curriculum for L/M/T. I think we need to work harder to integrate technology into daily instruction in the classroom. When I work with teachers I always try to go into new territory technologically with them."
A.B. What changes would like to see at your school re: Library/Media services? Or what positive benchmarks would you like to continue to foster?
D.K. "I strive to integrate technology into my work with teachers and their classes. I see great value in producing our TV broadcasts. It synthesizes student learning to brainstorm, write, and perform segments for their choosing. I was hoping to rewrite our curriculum sooner than 2007. I am very interested in the 21st century learning that AASL has just joined. http://www.21stcenturyskills.org
I am hopeful that AASL will be able to lead our profession in disseminating this information to those of us at the building level and work nationally to inform our administrators at all levels."
A.B. What were some challenges that the Summit helped you to identify? And how do you plan to adapt the changes?
D.K. "The biggest "ah Ha" for me was realizing that I don’t have to face the challenges alone (which seemed innumerable before but now are categorized by the Summit as reading, achievement, and literacy). I can influence my administrators only to a certain point by my "good work." I am influential on my own to a certain point, but to achieve real change, we need more power: a larger voice to a wider audience. I plan to just continue to learn and grow and change as I have in the past, but to know that there is a community of intelligent, motivated, interesting people out there who share my goals and are also working to effect change."