'The Power Project' receives AASL Roald Dahl's Miss Honey Social Justice Award

For Immediate Release
Fri, 04/17/2020


Jennifer Habley

Manager, Web Communications

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)



CHICAGO – The Power Project from the Chinese American International School in San Francisco, California, is the recipient of the 2020 American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) Roald Dahl's Miss Honey Social Justice Award. Sponsored by Penguin Random House, the Roald Dahl Award recognizes collaboration between school librarians and teachers in the instruction of social justice using school library resources.

The Power Project, a month-long capstone experience, is a collaboration between Cassy Lee, learning center coordinator; Alice Woodman-Russell, social studies teacher; and Jack Crow, English teacher. The project centers on the power U.S. citizens have to make change. Learners research a current social justice movement and tie the movement to historic events and changemakers the learners have studied.

The project also requires the students to take participatory action in the movement locally. Learners build a website that includes information on their movement and presents a call to action. The students’ experience culminates in an afternoon canvassing in a public space to engage interested community members and encourage them to act.

“Witnessing our students take ownership of their learning as they work to contribute to a better world is truly a peak experience for me as an educator, as is collaborating with my amazing colleagues on this project," wrote Lee in her application. “The project encourages and empowers our students to consider the mark they themselves could leave on history and how they could stand up for what matters to them. If students are skillful readers, writers, and thinkers but don’t use these powers for good…what, really, is the point?”

“The ‘Power Project’ empowered students at the Chinese American International School to follow their interests, discover passions, and use their voice,” said Lisa Koch, award committee chair. “Students were supported continuously as they learned how to best explore and understand an issue meaningful to them, and how to thoughtfully and powerfully communicate their message.  The committee was thrilled to see how, through collaborations, the librarian and teachers embodied Dahl's Miss Honey's spirit--by showing every student involved that their voice can inspire powerful change.”

“I’d like to thank Lisa Koch and her committee for their work in reviewing candidates for the Roald Dahl Social Justice Award,” said Mary Keeling, AASL President. “’The Power Project’ is a compelling example of what can happen when educators and school librarians develop instructional teams that fully utilize each professional’s expertise, when learners are empowered through effective instruction to research social justice topics and lead change in their communities, and when instructional partners reflect on their practice together.”

The AASL award winners will be honored during a virtual AASL Awards Ceremony during the fall of 2020. The virtual ceremony will replace the live ceremony traditionally presented during the ALA Annual Conference. Out of concern for the health and safety of all members of the community, the ALA Executive Board felt it was important to cancel the 2020 conference taking place in Chicago. Details for the virtual ceremony will be shared as they are finalized. 

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