CHICAGO — Eaglecrest High School, located in Centennial, Colo., is the American Association of School Librarians' (AASL) 2014 National School Library Program of the Year (NSLPY) Award recipient. Sponsored by the Follett Corporation, the NSLPY annually recognizes a school library program that meets the needs of the changing school and library environment and is fully integrated into the school's curriculum. The recipient receives an obelisk – the symbol of school library excellence – and $10,000 toward its school library program.
Eaglecrest High School, a part of the Cherry Creek School District located in the southeast Denver area, is a comprehensive, suburban, college preparatory high school. The curriculum ranges in scope from essentials to Advanced Placement courses in English, social studies, science and mathematics. Additional courses include world languages, music, arts, computer technology and vocational education. The school librarians at Eaglecrest seamlessly support, and in many cases take the lead on, integrating education and technological initiatives that best serve the students.
“The Eaglecrest High School library program is exemplary” said Sabrina Carnesi, NSLPY chair. "The committee was blown away by how the entire building is in agreement on the research process. Collaboration consistently occurs. Teachers work with the librarians on locating resources and the school librarians pull a variety of books at different reading levels and interests to meet a variety of learners. Both school librarians and teachers instruct students on the use of tech tools. This approach has resulted in double the amount of checked out books and students who are engaged and motivated to learn.”
“The culture of the library is clear,” school librarian Kristin McKeown writes in the award application. “It is an academic environment with specific behavior expectations that align with what students will find at college and university libraries. Whether in spite of or because of this, hundreds of students per day come to the library to read, find materials, do homework, or use technology.”
The school librarians at Eaglecrest guide their decisions by asking the question “What is best for our students?” In the mind of Superintendent Harry Bull, the answer is clear: “High performing students require a high performing library.” He continues, “For many years, the school library program has been successful because it has been consistently ahead of the times, and it has been intentionally staffed by personnel who are knowledgeable of their content and the instructional needs of their school.” Principal Gwen Hansen-Vigil agrees, “Our teacher-librarians’ impact on student learning is widespread. Kristin McKeown and Hollie Hawkins are teacher-leaders as well as teacher-librarians. Both have the respect of colleagues needed to facilitate the learning of others.”
“On behalf of AASL, representing the school library profession, I would like to congratulate Eaglecrest High School on their NSLPY recognition,” said Gail Dickinson, AASL president. “The Eaglecrest program shows what is truly possible when the entire educational community comes together to support their school library. In collaboration with their administrators, faculty, students, and community, Kristin and Hollie have built a program that puts student learning at the forefront. I commend them.”
The AASL award winners will be honored at AASL's Awards Ceremony during the 2014 ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas. The ceremony will be held from 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 28. Debuting in a new format this year, all are welcome to attend and celebrate the accomplishments of their peers during this recognition event taking place prior to the AASL President’s Program.
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.