'Brotherhood' project from G. W. Carver Middle School receives AASL Collaborative School Library Award

For Immediate Release
Tue, 04/12/2016


Jennifer Habley

Manager, Web Communications

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)



CHICAGO – Deborah Floyd, Stephanie Stargardt and Joshua Forbes from G. W. Carver Middle School in Chester, Virginia, are the recipients of the 2016 American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) Collaborative School Library Award for their collaborative project “Brotherhood, A Novel: Making Connections to Richmond from Reconstruction Through Present Day.” Sponsored by Upstart, the $2,500 award recognizes school librarian and teacher collaboration during the development and implantation of a curriculum-supporting program using school library resources.

The project team of school librarians Floyd and Stargardt and language arts teacher Joshua Forbes worked with A. B. Westrick, the author of “Brotherhood,” to develop a unique in-depth study experience. The novel depicts a young boy’s experiences during Reconstruction in Richmond and his recruitment into the Ku Klux Klan. The team strove to encourage students to delve deeper into the topic and apply what they learned to real world situations during the four to six week study.

The team developed activities to capture the 7th-grade students’ attention. These activities included inviting Westrick into the classroom for a reading and discussion, presentations from the Virginia Historical Society and the Library of Virginia and a field study which included stops in Richmond that were significant in the story. The project ended with a Q&A with Westrick. Students prepared questions to tie up loose ends and offered statements to evaluate the novel. This enabled students to make connections to the present day world. 

“The committee was able to come to a conclusion about the recipient of the award immediately,” said Floyd Pentlin, committee chair. “The application stood out in every respect. The collaboration went above and beyond the school and reached out into the greater community. The goals attempted and achieved were of a high order and the description of the project was notable for its detail and thoroughness.”

“Schools within our district have successfully used this unit of study with their students,” wrote Deborah Floyd in the award application. “In addition, other librarians in Virginia have adapted the unit and the materials in order for their students to make connections to our rich Virginia history. One team of librarians incorporated Brotherhood and the unit into its summer reading program, taking students, parents, and teachers along for the adventure.”

The AASL award winners will be honored at the AASL Awards Ceremony during the 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Orlando. The ceremony will be held from 9 – 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 25. All are welcome to 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), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.