New York Library Association. - The eBulletin

Getting It Out of Your System: Services You Didn’t Know Your System Provided

   SLSA - Common Core: NY is Ready!

By Melissa Jacobs-Israel

Over the last two years, there has been a buzz in education around critical thinking skills, text complexity, college and career readiness skills, and building rigor in student learning.  This buzz stems from the instructional shifts generated by the widely adopted Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS).  Forty-six states across the US are in the process of adapting their educational practices, aligning standards, and modifying instruction to help prepare students for success in the real world.

In spite of all the conversations around CCLS, many educators initially exposed to the Common Core walk away anxious, confused and overwhelmed.  Although there is this level of apprehension felt in many instructional positions in New York State, school librarians across the Empire State are in a much better position than most because the School Library System Association of NY State (SLSA) has recently endorsed the New York City School Library System Information Fluency Continuum (IFC), re-branding it the Empire State Information Fluency Continuum, The Empire State IFC is a K-12 curriculum that aligns with the CCLS seamlessly. 

The Information Fluency Continuum was developed by school librarians in NYC as a K-12 curriculum to teach inquiry and information literacy and was realigned in 2010 to correlate with the American Association School Librarian’s Standards for the 21st Century Learner.   Built around the Stripling Model of Inquiry, the IFC provides a scaffolded approach to teaching inquiry and information literacy skills.  As stated in the IFC’s introduction, “information fluency skills and strategies are an integral part of learning in any subject area. The librarian in collaboration with the classroom teacher can most effectively teach so that students are using these skills to learn essential content. Some of the skills may be incorporated into classroom instruction; others will be most effectively taught in the library setting. Wherever they are taught, these information fluency skills are pivotal in helping all of our children become independent learners.”

As educators begin to unpack the Common Core, they will discover that “the research and media skills” discussed in the CCLS are embedded throughout the standards and they are responsible for teaching students to master how to “gather, comprehend, evaluate, synthesize, and report on information and ideas, to conduct original research in order to answer questions or solve problems, and to analyze and create a high volume and extensive range of print and non-print texts in media forms old and new.”

The skills throughout the CCLS are precisely the skill sets that school librarians teach.  The Empire State Information Fluency Continuum is in perfect harmony with the CCLS.  This may not have been an intentional design of Common Core; but librarians have an opportunity to seize. The Empire State Information Fluency Continuum is beyond a K-12 curriculum, it is an instructional tool and that can be used to help navigate conversations with teachers and administrators attempting to understand the CCLS.   The IFC’s Priority Benchmark Skills and Assessments can be used as guidance for backwards design, lesson and unit planning.  Using the Empire State Information Fluency Continuum, librarians across New York State can clearly demonstrate how to prepare students to be college and career ready and successfully function in a global society, the foundational concept of the Common Core.

Are you interested in learning more about the Empire State IFC?  Contact your School Library System Director for additional information.