ESSA and the school librarian

As some of you know, an AASL workshop called "ESSA and the school librarian" was held at our annual conference at the AquaTurf on October 25, 2015.
See the web site for information and materials for advocacy.

I believe that the AASL program is an opportunity for our school librarian community to advocate for equity in school library media programs in our state. According to the SDE timeline published earlier this month at, the Dept of Ed will start working on the Draft state ESSA Plan in December. There is a short window for CASL to make strategic comments to the SDE before then to try and influence the development of the Plan.

The CT Department of Education (SDE) has published an ESSA survey and forwarded it to school superintendents for distribution to stakeholder groups in their communities. Library Media Specialists, teachers, and parents are all stakeholders.
Here is the information I received:
"The Connecticut State Department of Education has embarked on a stakeholder engagement and feedback process as part of implementing the Connecticut State Board of Education’s Five-year Comprehensive Plan and preparing our response to the 2016 Every Student Succeeds Act. This process involves an online survey and in-person focus groups, both of which are designed to provide insight concerning four key policy questions:

  1. 1. Standards, Assessments and Accountability;
  2. 2. School Improvement;
  3. 3. Improving Outcomes for English Learners; and
  4. 4. Effective Teachers and Leaders.

The information collected will assist in shaping the future of public schools in our state and help to ensure that every Connecticut public school student has equitable access to excellent educational experiences."
Please answer the survey and forward it to members of your community (residence and employement - if you have not seen it). It is important that the SDE hears from School Library Advocates.
In addition: there are focus groups forming.A CASL member forwarded this to CASL and it contains a link to a google sign up form for the ACES RESC focus groups. The survey allows for student participation too. If you live or work in an ACES district, please strongly consider participation in a focus group so that School Libraries and librarians will be included in the FIVE YEAR PLAN!
  • this is the text of the email: "Dear Superintendent,

  • The Connecticut State Department of Education has embarked on a stakeholder engagement and feedback process as part of implementing the Connecticut State Board of Education’s Five-year Comprehensive Plan and preparing a response to the 2016 Every Student Succeeds Act.

  • We are conducting an outreach campaign to gather constituent perspectives and data which involves a focus group with teachers. Therefore, we are asking that you share this email and the link below with all the schools in your district so each of them can disseminate appropriately.

  • The focus group for teachers will be held at ACES, 205 Skiff Street, Hamden, on 11/3/2016 from 4-6:00 PM.

  • This link contains detailed information and a form to complete, indicating their desire to be involved.

  • Thank you in advance for your assistance with this process."
Please forward any information you receive regarding ESSA focus groups, surveys and etc. to so that we can share with our membership.
Thank you.

Awards Timeline

Person Responsible
Publicize awards.
Send letter to school administrators seeking nominations for Erickson and Clark awards with awards brochure.
Send CASLgram article to editor. Post on CASL NING.
Post on CASL-L.
Send mass email to CASL members and liaisons urging people to go to the CASL web site and view information about each award and learn how to apply and include awards brochure. The deadline is December 31.
Send rubrics for each award as email attachments to each team member.
Send email to Elizabeth Langran, Fairfield University and Nancy Disbro, Southern, about the scholarship.

Check/edit rubrics for each award. Decide who will handle the correspondence for each award. Send team members model correspondence.

Check to see the number of applications received for each award.
Send reminder about awards for which there are not at least 2 applications.

Check to see the number of applications received for each award.
Send mass email reminder about awards for which there are not at least 2 applications.
Zoho chair sends applications for Jay, Erickson, Clark, Pellerin, Service and Administrator as email attachments to team members. Chair sends team members a list of nominees for each award.

Decide on Jay, Erickson, Clark, Pellerin, Administrator, and Service.
Send Collaboration/Creative Program applications to each member and ask them to use the rubric to rate Collaboration/Creative Program Award using the rubric.Distribute the student videos. Check that all the scholarship applications are complete.

Decide on Scholarship, Collaboration/Creative Program Award and BYSLMPY award. Distribute student videos.Team members send out correspondence.Team chair orders plaques and creates certificates.

Team Chair creates speeches for Awards Ceremony at Spring Fling.

Edit the information about Awards on the web site.Have our webmaster post edits. Edit the awards brochure.

Awards ceremony at Spring Fling (planned by Membership Committee)

December 1, 2009
Rough notes for Advocacy Committee Agenda for December 2 Board Meeting:
Advocacy Agenda 12-2-09
To consider: Do we still wish to receive two letters of reference for Erickson? I think that is redundant with the details in the nomination form.
Do we want two letters of reference and a resume for Clark. Again I think we should ask for a resume for Clark and a resume for Erickson. If you agree then Chris can contact the nominees and ask them to send him one electronically as an email attachment.

October 21, 2009
With the quick turnaround now for the 2010 Awards, I think it's necessary to address the Awards process. We have January, February, March and April Board/Team meetings to decide on all the awards. First CASL has to publicize and encourage people to apply for the awards so we get applications. We should discuss how CASL decides upon award winners. In addition to reviewing the applications, winners have to be notified, plaques ordered and checks written. Making the certificates for the elementary and middle school video winners is easy (Janet has already volunteered to do it. Some team has to plan the Spring Fling. In order to make this process easier for this coming year, and for the future, this is what I think should be done (thanks for Janet for her suggestions):
Awards Tasks 2010
At the November 10th meeting, let’s give everyone on the Advocacy Team a job to do concerning awards.

One meeting can probably decide on these awards:

Bernice “Bunny” Yesner School Library Media Program of the Year (BYSLMPY)

Creative Program Award
One meeting can probably decide on these awards:
Collaboration Award
Carolyn Biega O’Neill Memorial Scholarship

One meeting can probably decide on these awards:

CASL Administrator’s Award
Pellerin Classroom Teacher Award

Carlton W. H. Erickson Award
Rheta A. Clark Award
Hilda and John Jay Award
CASL Service Award
Student Film or Video Award

1. Publicity and soliciting awards nominations--(Janet). Nancy Shwartz volunteered to receive the student videos so she will have to let me know if she has received any videos.
2. Selecting the recipients--The whole Advocacy Team during the January, February, March meeting.
3. Sending the letters by e-mail to the winners and CC their administrators. Ask people to volunteer to do certain awards:
CASL Service: (Janet)
Bernice “Bunny” Yesner School Library Media Program of the Year (BYSLMPY)
Creative Program Award
Collaboration Award
Carolyn Biega O’Neill Memorial Scholarship
Carlton W. H. Erickson Award
Rheta A. Clark Award
Hilda and John Jay Award
CASL Administrator’s Award
Pellerin Classroom Teacher Award
Student Film and/or Video Award
4. Create and send the certificates for the elementary and middle school video awards: (Janet)
5. Ordering the plaques.
6. Writing the speeches and giving the awards at the Spring Fling.
7. Sending the PR release to the winners so they can publicize their award.

The Advocacy/Public Relations Team shall

  • Publicize school library media programs
  • Recommend various annual award categories, criteria for selection of recipients, and the type of award to be presented. With the approval of the Board of Directors, the group shall publicize, actively seek, and select candidates for awards.
  • Inform members regarding state and national legislation; make recommendations for action.
  • Assist in the publication and distribution of the newsletter and other documents
  • Provide the webmaster with articles about Connecticut media specialists who appear in the news
  • Maintain the official website and list serv
  • Publicize events
Seek member input by electronic surveys


Goal: Make effective and timely connections using print and electronic communications with Connecticut school library media specialists and inform the general public about issues related to our profession.

  • Honorary members who get a copy of CASLgram

Newsletters of other organizations

  • Ask CLA to dedicate a specific issue of their newsletter to school libraries. Include articles by students, staff, volunteers and administrators about what school libraries mean to them. See Illinois Library Association Newsletter.

Gaining support from administrators/superintendents
  • Letters from CASL President to Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents
  • Publicize the winner of the administrator’s award
  • Publicize administrator’s breakfast
  • In addition to administrator’s breakfast, give administrators an exhibit pass, have a Session 1 workshop for administrators and free lunch with their LMS. Consider a panel discussion or a big name for the administrator’s breakfast. Keith Curry Lance or David Loerscher.
  • In Wisconsin, the school librarians’ association makes presentations each year for the principal’s association, the superintendents’ association and the teacher convention. The presentation for the principals is entitled, “How does a principal know what a good library media program looks like? Some states also make presentations for the state PTO associations.
  • Clarify the role of LMS concerning literacy and reading and technology. Explain the relationship between critical thinking and information literacy. Explain how information literacy helps students achieve on standardized tests.
  • Create a brochure for LMS to give to their administrator

Gaining support from Parents

· Create a brochure for LMS to distribute during Open House
· Get the Parent teacher group involved in library projects such as honoring graduating seniors with books—Brochure to encourage parents of graduating seniors to donate $25 to the library—Parents honor their students birthday with a donation of money to buy a library book

Inform new and prospective teachers of the roles of school library media specialist

· Attend the New Teacher Conference by CEA in March

CASL-L-Encourage members to join and post on CASL-L

Gaining support from legislators

  • Participate in Legislative Day
  • Have a discussion panel at administrators breakfast and invite legislator—The can’t eat—they can only go to a forum
  • Participate in the summer reading program of the governor. Let the governor how summer reading improves student achievement
  • Give free printed copies of CASLgram to Legislators and the governor.
  • Have a display in the legislative office building about the 6 areas that libraries make a difference
  • Have a display: What if school libraries disappeared? What would you miss the most?
  • In Wisconsin, they have a legislator’s breakfast as part of their annual librarians’ conference. Administrators are invited to the breakfast for free. The legislators are told a week ahead of time how many of their constituent school districts will be attending, and most of them will show up if they have a good representation of schools in their district. This is a good chance to lobby for more funding for school libraries, iConn, etc.

Public Relations Plan

We have a message about inquiry-oriented research and free voluntary reading that we need to deliver and we need to deliver this message frequently and consistently.
internal communications: e-mail, print mail, dept meetings, faculty meetings, present at dept head meetings
  • flyers in mail boxes
  • present at Faculty meeting about free voluntary reading research
  • Database tutorials
  • Department inservices
  • school newsletter
  • Work with Public Library
  • List serv of the school system
  • Publish in magazine
  • Special events
  • Run a reading contest in April—Publicize in Imprint newspapers
  • Honor Retiring Teachers with Books
  • Honor Graduates with books on the list serv of the school system

Publicity Contacts for CEMA

AECT calendar - "''" <>
CEMA/CASL Web Site – Jenn Cirino �423�
CEMA-Gram – Irtene Kwidzinski �424�
CASL Listserv David Bilmes or post to CASL-L
CLC-List - (must subscribe first) ConnTech-List - (must subscribe first)
Web Junction -;jsessionid=87BD7BB1D60EF043DB5CB9861DAA0410
Anne Weimann
Anne will send a bulk e-mail to all members and to liaisons. Liaisons will send e-mail to people in their district who might want to attend a CASL event. Send Anne the flyer and the content you want in the e-mail.


  • Parents
  • Administrators
  • What we do as librarians
  • Students??

Here are the Wisconsin Brochures that Mary mentioned at the meeting:

Additional Resources:

Update the Current One?

  • The old is based on Information Power (which has been supplanted by 21st Century Learning Skills)
  • Do the above new skills match up w/ the CT ones?
  • Update the photos


  1. Add links for useful websites about Internet Safety/Reading websites (reader advisories), etc
  2. Suggestions for reads (award winners, reading lists, etc) - possibly by genre
  3. From the AASL website:
The Key to Student Achievement
Research has shown a direct correlation between high quality school library media programs and student achievement. Some recent findings:
  • Spending for school library media programs is the single most important variable related to better student achievement.1
  • Students in schools with well-equiped library media centers staffed by professional library media specialists perform better on assessments of reading comprehension and basic research skills.2
  • In studies in 14 states where library media programs are better staffed, better stocked and better funded, academic achievement tends to be higher.3
  • Research by Keith Curry Lance shows a direct link between higher reading scores and collaboration between school library media specialists and teachers. Collaboration activities in which library media specialists should participate include identifying useful materials and information for teachers; planning instruction cooperatively with teachers; providing in-service training to teachers; and teaching students both with classroom teachers and independently.4
  1. SchoolMatch.
  2. Ken Haycock, What Works, 1992.
  3. Scholastic Library Publishing, School Libraries Work!, 2004.
  4. Keith Curry Lance, "What Research Tells Us About the Importance of School Libraries," White House Conference on School Libraries, Institute of Museum and Library Services, June 2002, <>. Accessed 7 June 2002.


  • Could use the "evaluation" guidelines (need to find)
  • From the Principals Manual:
    • Student achievementis our bottomline.
    • The school library media program puts
      your state and national learning standards
      into action.
    • The school library media program
      supports and strengthens the curriculum.
    • Reading for learning, reading for pleasure
    • (there are more)