North East Independent School District named National School Library Program of the Year

For Immediate Release
Mon, 05/02/2011

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CHICAGO – North East Independent School District (NEISD) is an American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) 2011 National School Library Program of the Year (NSLPY) Award recipient. Sponsored by Follett Library Resources, the NSLPY recognizes school library programs that meet the needs of the changing school and library environment and are fully integrated into the school's curriculum. Each recipient is recognized with a crystal obelisk and $10,000 for their school library program.

To create life-long learners at North East Independent School District, located in Texas, the school library program works to “model and promote the effective integration of technology and student-centered strategies to support the access, use, evaluation and creation of information; and model, teach and practice the ethical use of information in order to promote good digital citizenship in students, teachers and the community.”  Along with skills to evaluate information, technology skills are embedded into the core content areas when teachers and school librarians collaborate to design lessons.  Products of these lessons incorporate various presentation tools, including podcasts, slideshows and videos. This allows students to not only complete their work, but share it with others, like their parents and peers, by posting it on classroom or library blogs.

“By becoming effective users of information and ideas, NEISD students are able to achieve academic excellence, technical skills, and responsible citizenship,” wrote Richard Hasenyager, director for library services, in the application.  “The library services department falls under the district’s division of instruction and technology services to enable a direct relationship with teachers and thus classroom instruction ensuring knowledge of the latest tools and technologies.”

School librarians also use technology to provide professional development opportunities for other members of the educational team.  A recent example is an online course on the ethical use of information which was shared with classroom teachers. “Professional learning and leading is an expectation for the librarians in NEISD,” Hasenyager states.    NEISD maintains a wiki site for district librarians to collaborate with one another.  As final products are created, they are posted in the district’s library website to share with teachers, parents, students and other librarians around the world.

“From the moment you encounter a school librarian in this district, you are struck by their professionalism,” said Betty Marcoux, award committee chair.  “This school district’s school library program makes it their responsibility to offer the best of the best to any and all students and teachers. They are active contributors to what makes education worthwhile to their students.”

Located in San Antonio, the district is the eighth largest school district in Texas. It is composed of 68 schools with 66,220 students in grades, pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.  Fulfilling the district library mission to “ensure that students and staff are effective users of information resources and ideas that will enable them to be life long learners,” is a staff composed of 70 full-time librarians, 12 half-time librarians, 63 full-time support staff, and 18 part-time support staff.

North East Independent School District and other AASL award recipients will be honored at AASL's Awards Luncheon during ALA's 2011 Annual Conference in New Orleans. The luncheon will be held Monday, June 27, and Lauren Myracle, best-selling young adult author and national spokesperson for intellectual freedom, will headline.  Ticket information can be found on the AASL website at http://www.ala.org/aasl/annual

Established in 1963, the NSLPY Award honors school library programs practicing their commitment to ensure that students and staff are effective users of ideas and information, as well as exemplifying implementation of AASL’s learning standards and program guidelines. The award recognizes exemplary school library programs that are fully integrated into the school's curriculum. Each winning program receives an obelisk – the symbol of school library excellence – and a $10,000 prize donated by Follett Library Resources. Learn more about each of these school library media programs at http://www.ala.org/aasl/awards.

The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library services in elementary and secondary schools as a means of strengthening the total education program. Its mission is to advocate excellence, facilitate change and develop leaders in the school library field.