October 26, 2021
AASL SmartBrief
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Learners and Literacy
Va. district aims to close literacy gaps
(iStock)
A Virginia school district's new Equitable Access to Literacy Plan aims to improve reading and writing across all grade levels. The new curriculum is intended to improve literacy rates and help close gaps among certain student groups, including those with disabilities and English learners.
Full Story: WDVM-TV (Hagerstown, Md.) (10/23) 
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How to support reading, literacy with tech tools
A person uses a smartphone to record outside an event during Paris Fashion Week. (Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)
There are three technology tools that can help teachers improve reading instruction, according to Megan Allen, founder of the Community Classroom. In this article, Allen writes about the tools, including the recording function on phones and tablets is useful for audio-journaling and feedback, as well as Pixar Shorts that support literacy learning through brief movies without dialogue.
Full Story: Edutopia (10/22) 
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SmartBrief Education STEM Pathways Summit
Join us on October 28 for our annual SmartBrief Education STEM Pathways Summit when we explore the intersection of STEM and social-emotional learning. Don't miss this opportunity to get fresh ideas, hear about new programs and talk with your peers in STEM education. Register today.
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Today's School Libraries
A Missouri middle-school library held its fifth annual Character Pumpkin Contest during which students carved pumpkins in the theme of their favorite books. Teachers vote on their favorite pumpkins, and students receive prizes.
Full Story: KSNF-TV/KODE-TV (Joplin, Mo.) (10/22) 
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Why Education Leaders Need Coaches, Too
Teachers and staff carry an ever greater responsibility for student success. And if there was ever a time when leader coaching and professional development were needed, it's now. Read this SmartFocus to make sure your leader PD and coaching has the potential for greatest impact.
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Professional Leadership
Teachers share traits they love in principals
(Unsplash)
Teachers love principals who listen to them, are trusting, supportive and have school spirit. In this article, teachers explain what they like most about their principals, including teacher Brenda Morris, who says her principal "has confidence in me and my coworkers and helps us do our best work."
Full Story: Education Week (10/21) 
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Wes Cottongim, principal at Cumberland Trace Elementary School in Bowling Green, Ky., worked with the school's dean of students/assistant principal and school librarian to guide a school redesign that supported student engagement and active learning. In this blog post, Cottongim shares seven tips, including giving students seating options.
Full Story: SmartBrief/Education (10/26) 
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A Pandemic-Fueled Digital Transformation
COVID-19 has forced many US public schools to embrace remote learning. As such, schools, and educational institutions in general, have been forced to engage in some type of digital transformation. This SmartFocus explores the technological changes and advancements that have taken place in the educational space. Download Now!
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Policy Update
Data to consider along with results of state tests
(Gabriel Kuchta/Getty Images)
Many factors may have affected state test results in the previous school year -- some of which may make the results meaningless -- experts say. This article examines testing during the pandemic and suggests three considerations about testing data: whether students took exams remotely, whether new tests were used and how many students -- and which ones -- took the exams.
Full Story: Education Week (10/21) 
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Nearly 3 million fewer students were enrolled in US schools in the past year, according to US Census Bureau data, which marked the lowest share in over 20 years. "The enrollment data and the declines in particular are giving us multiple signals about the magnitude and character of the disruption in kids' educational trajectories," professor Thomas Dee of Stanford University Graduate School of Education said.
Full Story: The Hill (10/22) 
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The A.A. Van Elslander Foundation has donated $1.5 million to Denby High School in Detroit to support the Beyond Basics literacy program. "Beyond Basics offers the same opportunity giving students the chance to change and control their future through literacy," David Van Elslander said.
Full Story: The Detroit News (10/20) 
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Strategies and Practices for Online Learning
As the new school year began, the COVID-19 Delta variant made plans for in-person learning incredibly uncertain, and made the potential shift to online learning higher. Join a discussion that will provide valuable strategies and key elements for implementing online learning, from emergency preparedness to designing an integrated long-term program. Watch Now!
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AASL News
To advance the critical role school librarians play in empowering their learners with media literacy, AASL partnered with the Getting Better Foundation (GBF) to share the award-winning documentary "Trust Me." Attendees at the AASL National Conference have the opportunity to watch an exclusive viewing and as part of the partnership, all ALA members can save 50% on the cost of the streaming rental through Oct. 31. During this #AASLtownhall, join AASL leaders and colleagues to discuss the film and why empowering communities with information literacy is more important than ever.
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Published by AASL and ALA Editions, Sarah Culp Searles's book "Explore" takes readers on a journey through the broad and varied territory of school librarianship, sharing resources, ideas, and trends to help along the way. This guide is designed so that readers can explore their practice on their own or with colleagues. It offers a deeper understanding of the Explore Shared Foundation; an examination of how the Competencies in the Explore Shared Foundation relate to other major ideas and concepts in school librarianship and the wider field of education; and ready-to-implement professional development programming for school librarians and those who support school librarians.
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Susan Hill,
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