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Syracuse University

Personal Growth Plan

Elizabeth Griffin
IST 661: Managing a School Library
Professor Renee Hill
May 8th, 2016
Description of School and Students
As I do not know where or what type of school I will work in once I graduate, I will use the
statistics and information gathered earlier this semester to develop my personal growth plan.
Johnstown High School in Johnstown, New York consists of approximately 600 students in
grades 9-12, all with diverse needs and abilities. Johnstown High School serves students from
Fulton and Hamilton counties. Of the approximately 600 students, all of them speak English as
their primary language. There is very little diversity within the community and that is reflected in
the student population. 93% of the student population identifies as Caucasian while the
remaining 7% is divided between other races and ethnicities including Black or African
American, Hispanic or Latino, and Asian. Nearly half the student population (47%) is considered
economically disadvantaged and qualifies for free or reduced lunchi. This is slightly below the
state average. Students in Johnstown have access to reasonable resources at home but there is
still a gap, especially for those students located in the more rural parts of the community.
Class sizes in Johnstown High School range from approximately 16-21 students per class. This is
slightly below the state overage of 20-22 students. Smaller class sizes could mean that there is
more time for one-on-one instruction with the teacher which is important to keep in mind.
Suspension rates at Johnstown High School are also aligned closely with the state average,
coming in at 5% in the 2014-2015 school year, which is only 1% higher than that of the state.
Another statistic that stands out is the annual attendance rate. Last year, in 2015, the attendance
rate for Johnstown High School was 90%, slightly below the attendance rate for the state which
was 93%. Student absences can cause problems if students are missing important instructional
opportunities at the library and could indicate that students are lacking in consistent instructionii.
In terms of academic success, Johnstown students perform well, though there is room for
improvement. The majority of the students in Johnstown High School read at an appropriate
grade level. Approximately 10% of the students read above grade level and 15% read below
grade level. Finally, the last area that should be discussed are the test scores. In English,
Johnstown High School aligns well in comparison with other schools in New York State. As the
grades get higher, the margin of difference between the percentage of Johnstown students getting
these scores and the state average widens roughly 10%. The same can be said in other core
subject areas Johnstown students are tested in. This indicates that while students in Johnstown
are succeeding, there is room for improvement.

Instructional Programs and Collaboration

It is my goal that I will be able to continue the collaborative culture between the librarian and the
faculty at Johnstown High School while also reaching out to develop collaborative relationships
with new partners. Additionally, my goal is to reach out to content teachers that may not think to
use the library as a resource such as the music, art, or physical education teachers. As many of
the state exams indicate that the students of Johnstown High School can benefit from having
additional support, this collaborative effort would ensure that the students know they can come to
the library for all academic endeavors.
Importance of Goal
Collaboration is key to creating successful library programs. Through collaboration, the librarian
can ensure that the education students receive is well rounded and the faculty and staff have all
the support that the librarian can provide. Collaboration can lead to the strengthening of
relationships between the librarian and content teachers. It can also entice students and introduce
them to the library and all it has to offer. Put simply, collaboration opens many doors when it
comes to running successful library programs.
In order to develop these working relationships, I will need to reach out to the faculty and staff of
Johnstown High School. As there is already a well-established collaborative atmosphere in the
school, I will need to ensure those currently working in the library that I intend to support that
process. Additionally, as I want to encourage collaboration with unlikely partners, I will need to
show these educators what the library can do to support their curriculum. This will require that I
meet with the current faculty and staff at the start of the academic year. During this meeting, I
will introduce myself and my goals and learn about each potential partner and their goals. Then, I
will offer ideas to help those potential partners reach their goals and make it clear that I want to
be an extension of support to their students and curriculum.
Meeting this goal has the potential to greatly benefit Johnstown High School. By collaborating
more with teachers, the students will benefit from having an additional support system as they go
about achieving their education goals. This has the potential to lead to improvements in test
scores as students will be able to receive help in areas they find challenging. The purpose of
collaboration is not only to further engage students with their coursework, but also with the
school media center. Achieving this goal will do just that.
To measure if this goal has been reached or not, I will employ different methods. The first is to
keep a record of the teachers I collaborate with over the course of the academic year and the
results of these collaborations. I will make special note of collaborative partners who were new
to the library. Additionally, I will send out surveys to the faculty to ask how the library can better
serve them and support their curriculum and make adjustments based on the feedback I receive.
This will not only improve library instructional planning for the future, but will also help
strengthen the relationships between the librarian and the faculty.

Literacy and Independent Reading

During my first year as the librarian of Johnstown High School, I will promote a culture of
independent reading both with the students and the faculty and staff.
Importance of Goal
I believe that independent reading leads to more successful students. Through reading, students
develop stronger vocabularies and can often perform better in their courses. Reading is also a
way for students to pursue their own interests and read points-of-view different from their own.
Additionally, as I will be encouraging the faculty and staff to pursue more independent reading
as well, they can act as role-models in encouraging students to read independently.
In order to achieve this goal, there are many different methods and techniques that can be used.
Perhaps the most important is having a collection containing wide variety of different genres so
that students, faculty, and staff are more likely to find reading material that suits their interests. I
will do this by evaluating the current collection and giving school and community members the
opportunity to request books that we do not currently hold in the collection. I will also request
that my collaborative partners encourage students to independently read books of their choice in
their classes so that the message is being delivered from more than just the librarian. Having a
designated reading area in the library, accessible to all students and staff, will also help in
achieving this goal as everyone will have a place to go to read.
Students who read independently are more likely to be successful in other areas of their
education. Students will also be more engaged with the library as a result of this new culture.
Additionally, this can result in improved ELA test scores. As Johnstown High School typically
underperforms in comparison to New York State, improved test scores are a school-wide goal as
The primary form of measurement will be based on evaluation. While it is possible to track how
often students are checking out books for pleasure reading, this will not account for books
brought from home and cannot accurately indicate how successful the promotion of independent
reading has been. I will additionally ask for input from my peers and if they have noticed
students reading more often. As a culture of independent reading takes time to develop and
begins with incoming freshmen each year, this will be an ongoing goal. Lastly, test scores can be
reviewed after each subsequent year to see if there has been improvement over time.

Library Environment
I will ensure the library is a welcoming place to all, provide areas for quiet study, provide equal
access to all library resources, and encourage more student engagement in the library.
Importance of Goal
The Johnstown High School Media Center is a place for independent learning, class engagement,
and social discussion. It is important that all students and community members feel equally
welcome in the library. Also, as many students in the school community do not see the library as
a place where they can pursue their own interests or seek additional support in their education, it
is important that the library develops a reputation where students know this to be fact. In
reaching this goal, students will know exactly what the library can offer them and how it is
constantly improving to offer more in the future.
In order to accommodate all students, it will call for some miner rearrangements of the library
layout and the development of new policies within the library. Currently, the library features an
area dedicated to the computers and the group work tables. I will move some of those tables to
an unused corner of the library for students who want to work quietly. Additionally, I will allow
students the opportunity to make suggestion on the layout of the library through a variety of
methods. Students can speak with me directly or email me their ideas. Library programs will
support the various activities going on in the school be they academic or extracurricular. This
feedback, and the improvements that stem from it, allow students to take a degree of ownership
of the library.
As a result of achieving this goal, students will see the library as a place of infinite possibilities.
Students will not come to the library solely to work on class projects, but also to pursue their
own interests as well. Creating a culture of inclusion and positivity in the library will lead to
increases in the number of resources students use as well as giving students the chance to
develop skills outside what they learn in their core classes and further prepare them for their
post-graduation plans.
It will be difficult to measure this goal as it is based primarily on how the students feel about the
library. Strong indicators will be how often students use the library, if there is an increase in the
number of resources used, and if students who do not typically frequent the library begin to do
so. Additionally, the student feedback will be another way to gauge how welcoming the media
center environment is which will be collected in the manner mentioned above. While the library
always welcomes feedback, student opinions are especially valuable.

Collections Development and Integration of Resources and Technology

In my first year, I will pilot a mini-makerspace in the Johnstown High School Media Center. In
doing so, I will encourage students to express themselves creatively and pursue their own
interests outside of their core classes.
Importance of Goal
As the Johnstown High School Media Center maintains a well-developed collection, it is my
goal to bring something new to the community. In an effort to continuously develop the media
center so that we are offering the best services to the students, piloting a mini-makerspace will
indicate whether or not the school community would benefit from implementing a full
makerspace. This goal is very important in fostering a relationship with the students and
demonstrating our dedication to helping students pursue their own interests and explore their
creativity. As we seek to develop a reputation within the school in which students view the
library as a source of academic support as well as a creative outlet, this goal aligns nicely.
To develop a mini-makerspace, I will first need to receive the appropriate permissions from
administration. Then, I will research the best ways to pilot makerspaces and proceed to develop a
mini-makerspace that best suits the needs of Johnstown High School and make the necessary
purchases to do so. The initial plan is the begin with purchasing a single 3D printer and
necessary accessories. Finally, I will promote the mini-makerspace. It is important that I be fully
versed in how to properly use all the tools and creation materials I introduce in this pilot test and
be able to teach how to use these tools effectively. I will also write terms-of-use policies to
ensure the program runs smoothly and improve it over time as need be.
The impact of achieving this goal can be represented in two ways. If the students respond
positively, it will result in the implementation of an official makerspace. The larger impact of
achieving this goal is fostering a reputation of academic support and creative freedom. Students
will see the library as a place for everyone and is aimed at helping them be successful across all
areas of academia.
This goal will be measured in different ways. The first is to measure how often students use the
mini-maker space. The second is to get student feedback and see if growing the makerspace is
something they would be interested in. Thirdly, I will measure if there is an increase in the
number of students visiting the library as a result of this pilot test.

Administration, Leadership, and Advocacy

As the Johnstown High School Media Center does not currently have an advocacy board, I will
work on creating one in my first year so as to ensure the media center maintains its reputation as
a necessary part of the community.
Importance of Goal
This is a critical goal. Advocacy is a key aspect of librarianship and how well the librarian
advocates for the library can affect resource allocation to the program itself. It is also important
that key members of the community, both within and outside the school environment, are aware
of what the program offers and how it benefits students. Having advocates for the library can
make it easier to get approval for new programs, purchases, and policies that can lead to an
overall better library media center.
To do this, I will first secure permission from the administration. Having the support of the
administration is extremely important. Not only should administration be aware that this is
something I wish to do, but they should also be part of the advocacy board. Then, I will look to
faculty members who have been collaborative partners as they will know first-hand how the
program benefits students. Then, I will look to the parents. Parents need to be aware of the
library services offered to their children and the role the library plays in helping all students
succeed. Parents will be approached through open houses and town-hall style meetings. Lastly, it
is important that the students are also involved. As the library directly impacts them, there are no
better advocates than the students themselves. Having representatives from each of these groups
will lead to a successful advocacy board.
By creating an advocacy board, there is potential for the Johnstown High School Media Center to
build a reputation as an integral resource in the community. As a result of this reputation, it will
be obvious how an effective library program supports the students academic, social, and
emotional growth. In addition, the positive support of all the stakeholders could also be viewed
as beneficial in critical library budgeting allocations. Having an organized group of advocates
will be more impactful than if I spoke solely about the positive influence the library has on the
community and the support offered to the faculty, staff, and students of Johnstown High School.
This goal being met is dependent on the creation of an advocacy board. In order to measure this
goal, I will determine if each of the core groups mentioned above is well represented on the
board. Additionally, long term measurement includes seeing how the advocacy board effectively
brings about the positive changes to the reputation of the Johnstown High School Media Center
since its inception.

Conclusion and Reflection

This assignment reinforced the importance of setting clear goals for yourself in preparation to
become a school media specialist. Libraries are intended to be constantly improving so as to
offer the best services to the community members who use them. As the librarian, part of my job
will be to find the areas that need improvement and take action. Students deserve the best library
program their school can offer and the librarian must see to it that they get that. Though some
goals may be unattainable or there may be obstacles to overcome during the academic year,
having that end goal in sight that sets the next goal keeps library programs growing. It is a simple
matter of constantly improving so that your library does not become stagnant.
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