AASL at NAESP Conference

AASL exhibited at the 2022 Pre-K-8 National Principals Conference in Louisville, Kentucky from July 14th – July 16th. The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) organized this event to provide professional development and one voice for Pre-K through 8 educators. AASL President, Kathy Lester, and AASL Executive Director, Sylvia Knight Norton, along with AASL members James Allen (Statewide School Library Lead/Digital Learning Coach at the Kentucky Department of Education) and Emily Northcutt (K-8 librarian at the Marnel C. Moorman School, Shelbyville, KY) had the opportunity to speak with many principals and educators as they came through the exhibits.

AASL showcased a new series of administrator videos in which administrators reflect on the ways that effective school libraries staffed by certified school librarians impact teaching and learning.

A popular handout with principals was the AASL Evaluation Checklist. Principals liked the idea of working through this checklist with their school librarian in order to jointly identify areas of improvement for the school library. One principal, in particular, was excited to find this resource. She had just hired a new school librarian and thought it would be a great tool to begin a discussion with the librarian.

Another popular handout was the AASL Standards Framework for Learners. Kathy, Sylvia, James, and Emily were able to talk to principals about how the standards provide a framework for teaching and learning within the school library and how school librarians collaborate with and support teacher colleagues within their schools.

Other topics of discussion with principals included responsive scheduling and a common curriculum across a number of school libraries in one district. On the topic of responsive scheduling, we were able to reference the AASL Statement on School Library Scheduling and describe examples of the kinds of teaching and learning activities that this type of flexibility can provide in schools. On the topic of a common curriculum across school libraries, we were able to provide examples of school librarians coming together to define a curriculum with lessons by grade level which are based on the AASL National Standards. The conversations with elementary principals were productive and it was encouraging to hear that many of the administrators that we met have strong relationships with their school librarians.

We also had the opportunity to speak with many of the other vendors at the conference. The AASL booth was right next to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Welcoming Schools. AASL is a partner in the Human Rights Campaign Project Thrive which is a national campaign to support LGBTQ Youth. The Welcoming Schools program is a comprehensive bias-based bullying prevention program. There are many resources including training, lesson plans, booklists and resources specifically for educators and youth-serving professionals. School librarians will find many useful resources at this site.

We also spoke with representatives from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Education. ADL Education provides “anti-bias education through professional learning, educational programs, resources and strategies to build and sustain equitable and inclusive environments.” Their website has lots of resources that can be used by school librarians including lessons, tools & strategies, book lists, and more.

We also had the opportunity to speak with various exhibitors about attending the AASL 2023 Conference in Tampa Bay.

AASL’s attendance at the 2022 NAESP Conference was made possible by the generosity of AASL member Marina “Marney” Welmers.

Author: Kathy Lester, James Allen & Emily Northcutt

Kathy Lester is the 2022-2023 AASL President. James Allen is the Statewide School Library Lead & Digital Learning Coach at the Kentucky Department of Education. Emily Northcutt is the school librarian at Mamel C. Moorman School in Shelbyville, KY.

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