Francis W. Parker School’s Dot Day project receives AASL Collaborative School Library Award

For Immediate Release
Tue, 04/11/2017


Jennifer Habley

Manager, Web Communications

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)


CHICAGO – Mary Catherine Coleman, Sarah Beebe, Sarah Weitz, Bev Greenberg, and Tisha Johnson from Francis W. Parker School in Chicago, Ill., are the recipients of the 2017 American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) Collaborative School Library Award for their project “Dot Day: How Do We Work Together as Collaborators to Make Our Mark?” Sponsored by Upstart, the $2,500 award recognizes school librarian and teacher collaboration during the development and implementation of a curriculum-supporting program using school library resources.

The project team of Coleman, school librarian; Beebe, educational technology specialist; and first-grade teachers Weitz, Greenberg, and Johnson used Peter H. Reynold’s book “The Dot” to reflect on the ways they make their mark in their own lives and also in the first-grade community. Students examined the different themes presented in the story including personal growth, determination, and learning new skills. Through discussion, students identified the qualities of good collaborators and put them into play by working together to create a piece of artwork using a small robot called an ArtBot.

“Watching this project unfold, I was struck by the thoughtful approach that Mary Catherine and Sarah demonstrated throughout,” wrote Barbara Hunt, director of studies, in her letter of support. “They were proactive, pre-thinking possible outcomes and brainstorming about what to expect. I appreciated the way the project unfolded from the existing classroom curriculum, adding significant aspects of design thinking and technology skills, while integrating with the first-grade social studies curriculum related to communities.”

“The Dot Day project at Francis W. Parker School stood out as an inspirational collaboration between the school librarian and teachers,” said Caitlin Bennett, awards committee chair. “These educators successfully combined literacy, teamwork, and engineering skills to build connections beyond the Peter H. Reynolds book. This team should be commended for their hard work, dedication, and innovation in achieving such a well-developed student experience.”

The AASL award winners will be honored at the AASL Awards Ceremony & President’s Program during the 2017 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. The ceremony will be held from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Saturday, June 24. All are welcome to celebrate the accomplishments of their peers during this recognition event.

The American Association of School Librarians, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.