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Advocacy Program Plan for Northeast Vernon County Elementary School Grace Rhodes Emporia State University
Rhodes – Module 7 Advocacy Plan 2 Introduction Northeast Vernon County (NEVC) Elementary School is located in Schell City, MO in Vernon County. The district also includes the town of Walker and the communities of Harwood, Fairhaven, and Indian Springs. This is a rural area with relatively low-income. Adults in this area are also not typically very highly educated. NEVC has 206 students in the entire district with 119 students in grades prekindergarten through sixth. There is not a public library within the school district or a store that sells books. There are libraries in two neighboring towns, but they do have a small annual charge for families living outside of their districts. Library Website The school’s website allows for teachers to create a webpage for their own class to keep students and parents informed about what is going on in their classrooms. The librarian is also given the opportunity to make a webpage. A library webpage can be useful in many different ways for advocacy. I could write some things about myself to help parents get to know me since I do not usually have as much contact as classroom teachers do. The webpage could also be used to post updates about the library such as new books, dates and times for book fairs, and what each class is reading or learning about. This would be an easy way to advocate by keeping parents informed without using paper, however, families without Internet would not be able to access the webpage. End of the year report for administrators An annual wrap-up report for school administration and board members is an excellent way to justify the library program and my job. It would be most effective to attend a board meeting and present the report myself, but it could also work to be read or distributed at the meeting. This report would include all of the new purchases that were brought into the library and the total cost of these items. To help with library advocacy I would include examples of collaboration with classroom teachers. These examples would include the subject of the lesson, the standards addressed (subject area and library standards), how I helped, and how the lesson was assessed. Besides collaboration information, I would also show what standards I am covering as a part of the regular library lessons. These could be shown by including samples lessons, completed projects, and links to my online curriculum. Other important information to include would be statistics from book fairs, materials acquired through donations, circulation statistics, and Reading Counts statistics and information. It would also be important to let the school administrators and board members know what my goals are for the library in the next school year based on what happened in the last year. Note for families An easy way to keep parents informed of all important library policies and procedures would be to send home a note at the beginning of the school year, or whenever a new student comes into the district. This note would need to be signed and returned by the parents. It would be ideal for the parents to return the signed portion at either parent-teacher conferences or the back-to-school open house, so that I could have contact face-to-face with the parents. The note would contain information like the
Rhodes – Module 7 Advocacy Plan 3 number of books that can be checked out, the length of time books can be checked out, and my contact information. Also, depending on the grade level of the students, I would also include a list of the Missouri award nominees that are recommended for their age level and information about Reading Counts books and how I can help them meet their reading goals. Library news for students and teachers A very quick and easy way to advocate the library program is to let the principal, teachers, and students know what is happening in the library. Faculty can be quickly kept informed via e-mail communications like updates for a specific class or student, links to the library webpage, or electronic newsletters. Students can be kept updated on library news in a variety of ways. The easiest way to let students know what is new in the library is to simply tell them during library time. However, this is not the only way. Students can be made aware of new materials through displays and signage. Library policies and procedures can be posted around the room to serve as reminders. Award nominated books can be kept together on a shelf or display to help students find them and remember to check them out. Clear and attractive signage can help students find the books they are looking for and give them confidence in the library. Posters for the book fair will be posted around the building to remind students of the fair and to build excitement for the event. Reading Counts Reading Counts is the reading incentives program that is used by NEVC. The library is an important part of the Reading Counts program because it is where the students get their test books. Reading Counts is a big part of what makes the library important to the school. The elementary library houses test books that suit the needs of students in grades 1-6 in picture, chapter, and non-fiction books. Unlike the teachers’ classroom libraries, which include a limited selection of reading levels, the library is the place where all the students can find something on their level. The library also has two student computers that can be used to take tests any time the students would like to use them. I am aware of each student’s reading level and can help find appropriate books to meet reading goals. The test books are labeled with the reading level and point value to help students find the books they need.