notes on Oregon QEM report and invitation to discuss

Hello ILAGO, OWEAC, OASL, and LIRT,

The most recent Oregon Quality Education Model (QEM) and School Libraries Report is available. As you will see on the QEM website, the QEM is intended to be a “research-based link between student achievement and the resources devoted to Oregon Schools to use as a guide in future efforts to adequately fund Oregon schools.” You can see that 5 of the 1,303 Oregon schools met the QEM guidelines in 2009-2010. While the low number is alarming, it is not surprising.

Take our district, for example, where all Salem-Keizer elementary and middle school librarians were let go. This was a top-down, across-the-board action, not a school-by-school decision. The Salem-Keizer High School librarians are seeing their first wave of students who did not receive library instruction in 7th and 8th grade. These High School librarians who continue to run the HS libraries now have the additional charge of acting as consultants to the library aides/assistants who remain in the grade and elementary schools. It is hard to fully grasp the range of logistical and personal challenges this situation has created for all parties involved (including the newly unemployed librarians who continue to care about their students).

Along with many other states, Oregon is in the process of implementing K-12 Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The goal of the CCSS is to prepare high school graduates to meet college and career expectations. In the English Language Arts (ELA) area, increased rigor is achieved by requiring the use of a higher percentage of informational texts and by increasing the level of text complexity (see my notes at https://lemonsky.wordpress.com/). Librarians are uniquely trained to find, to make accessible, and to make use of informational texts of varying complexity (just some of the information literacy skills we teach).

While the CCSS create interesting opportunities for librarian/writing faculty partnerships, how will that take shape in our current K-12 climate? Understand that a solid literacy foundation begins in kindergarten with wrap-around services that support the child as a whole person, not just as a student. How will losing K-8 librarians impact the literacy foundations and eventually the college and career readiness of these people?

Who’s talking about this and where (the acronyms):
OWEAC = Oregon Writing and English Advisory Committee (see www.oweac.wordpress.com)
ILAGO = Information Literacy Advisory Group of Oregon (see www.ilago.wordpress.com to join the listserv and get info on the IL Summit on Saturday, May 19th)
OASL = Oregon Association of School Libraries (see http://oasl.memberclicks.net/ and please consider adding OASL to your OLA membership)
OLA-LIRT = Oregon Library Association- Library Instruction Roundtable (join us at OLA for the annual LIRT membership meeting, April 26th, Thursday evening, in the conference center lounge, 5:30pm).

Please join me for information literacy conversation at the LIRT meeting or at the Information Literacy Summit (scheduled for a Saturday to make it easier for school librarians to attend). Where else are these conversations taking place? Please share with the group!

Talk to you soon, ~Michele

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