New York Library Association. - The eBulletin

Section of School Librarians (SSL) Update

Submitted by Susan Polos, SSL President

Another wonderful Summer Leadership Institute is in the books. In fact, this year it was about the books: “School Librarians: Getting Back to the Book” led by Olga Nesi at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. The SSL/NYLA Board meeting was held on July 29 and 30 immediately following our Leadership Institute. This was a new format for us, designed to be more efficient and less expensive. We will debrief at our next board meeting, but it was clearly a success thanks especially to two board members who took care of the many details to make this work: Sara Kelly Johns and Lisa Perkowski. Our auction was a rousing success, too, thanks to auctioneer Jim Belair.

NY school librarians participated in the AASL Fall Forum in Rochester, "Gaming as Meaningful Education" held September 23-24. Michelle Miller represented SSL and reported back about the programs and learning opportunities.

NYLA/SSL members were busy this summer. Tara Thibault-Edmonds worked on the English Language Arts Standards Review in July. John Brock and Monique Morgan led SLMPE Rubric web page work in Albany in July; the group included Sara Kelly Johns, Lisa Perkowski, Beth Davis, Nina Levine, Jen Cannell, and Colleen Sadowski.
SSL and SLSA are working with NYSED to face the challenges of insufficient certified school librarians for job openings in many areas of the state. Michelle Miller and I met with others in Albany this summer as SLSA president Jaime Pfeiffer called a meeting to address this critical shortage. At the same time, SSL members are working with NYLA to support legislative efforts to mandate elementary school librarian positions. We all continue to showcase our roles as essential partners in learning.      
Our most intensive work right now is work on NYSED’s draft of the state version of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). SSL has a presence in each of the subcommittees’ work in ESSA Think Tank meetings. Our representatives include Sara Kelly Johns, Penny Sweeney, Nina Levine, Jen Cannell, Jill Leinung and me. Together we work on shared documents and appreciate the guidance when offered from John Brock, who is in listening mode. We are striving for maximum representation and influence.
In order to learn from the work already done by AASL, we hosted an ESSA Workshop at NYLA on October 1, run by Sara Kelly Johns. Many thanks to Jeremy for setting up the room and facilitating the event and thanks to Sue Kowalski for bringing refreshments and fun. The session was livestreamed, reaching school librarians and school library system directors throughout the state. We will continue to build on what we know and continue to learn, working towards explicit inclusion of the important work of school librarians in NY’s document.
We are still following carefully the new rules announced by NYSED concerning becoming an approved sponsor for professional development. Jeremy is helping us understand the requirements for this.

The 2017 conference in Buffalo, chaired by Maria Muhlbauer and Tina Pierce, will have Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Gene Luen Yang as keynote. There will soon be a call for proposed workshops. We look forward to this conference and to the Long Island conference the following year.

Many thanks for the opportunity to serve as NYLA/SSL president. I will be handing the gavel to Michelle Miller in only a month. I know we will be in excellent hands!