Equity, Access, and Individualization: 16 Ideas

Please see the professional development opportunities for January 2017 below Figure 1. While I was thinking about what to write this week, I came across the Scholastic (2016) Teacher and Principal School Report: Equity in Education, which synthesized survey responses from 4,721 pre-K through 12th grade public school teachers and principals. The report made me reflect on my education and career because of its focus on student challenges. The summary noted the following key points:

  • Principals reported an increase to learning barriers over the last three years. These barriers have many forms. See Table 1.
  • Poverty levels aside, 87% of teachers feel students experience learning barriers outside of school (Scholastic, 2016, p. 13).
  • When participants were provided with a list of resources and circumstances that support learning, 94% of respondents in high-poverty schools and 62% in low-poverty schools stated at least one of the resources or circumstances were not available in their school (Scholastic, 2016, p. 19). See Table 2.
  • Over 90% of the participants agreed to some extent that year-round access to books is important for student achievement and that schools are important for expanding access to books at home (Scholastic, 2016, p. 20).
  • 56% of teachers (Scholastic, 2016, p. 28) and 41% of principals (Scholastic, 2016, p. 29) spend personal money on books to support learning.
  • 33% of teachers (Scholastic, 2016, p. 28) and 37% of principals (Scholastic, 2016, p. 29) spend personal money on technology apps and software to support learning.
  • The top funding priorities identified by principals included academic or social emotional intervention initiatives and programs for professional development (Scholastic, 2016, p. 26).
  • 62% of the participants reported that their schools do not effectively engage families.
  • 54% of the teachers in this study wanted technology professional development (Scholastic, 2016, p. 55).

The report further noted that access to resources is not necessarily equity. Equity involves individual support for students. As such, educators must seek to be partners with their communities to understand what individual support entails.

The Scholastic report coincides with the requirements for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Using the results of this report for a springboard, I am offering some ideas that you can use to facilitate equity and individualized support. These ideas are just a start; they are not comprehensive, and I don’t expect one person to be able to do everything. Some of these ideas are unconventional. However, sometimes we need to step outside of our comfort zones to connect with families and our peers.

I have categorized the ideas by target audiences (see Figure 1). Some of the areas overlap. Please note that the basket checkout system I am referring to is not a substitute for class visits. I have used a checkout system where teachers requested books by placing a list in a basket. I would check out the requested books and put them in the basket. A student would deliver the books to the classroom.

While the schools we serve may reside in districts representing various socio-economical levels, equity and access continue to be a defining factor in the education of our youth. We are familiar with individualizing learning, ensuring equity, and providing access to information. As society changes, different situations arise that cause us to redefine the meaning of equity and to think of creative ways to safeguard access. Do you have other ideas? Share them in the comments!


Scholastic. (2016). Teacher and principal school report: Equity in Education. Retrieved from http://www.scholastic.com/teacherprincipalreport/Scholastic-Teacher-and-Principal-School-Report.pdf


January 2017 Professional Development

Title:  How to Reach the Hard to Teach: Excellent Instruction for Those Who Need It Most

  • Organization: edWeb.net
  • Date: Thursday, January 5, 2017 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm EST
  • Description: For every teacher, it’s different, but you know who they are for you – the students who are “hard to teach.” Maybe they’re reading far below grade level. Maybe they’re English learners. Maybe they have diagnosed learning disabilities or behavioral issues. Maybe they’re underachieving for reasons that are unknown. They have been overlooked, underserved, or frustrated, and they’re not learning as they should. Until now. Until you. In this webinar, Doug Fisher will present a thoughtful and practical approach to achieving breakthrough success with linguistically and culturally diverse students who struggle in school.
  • Link: https://www.anymeeting.com/AccountManager/RegEv.aspx?PIID=EC58DB84894F31 

Title:  Preschool Storytime Basics

  • Organization: Texas State Library and Archives Commission
  • Date: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm CST
  • Description: Storytimes in public libraries offer a valuable service to children, parents, and child care providers in the community on many different levels. This webinar will cover the basics of planning, preparing, and presenting engaging storytimes for preschoolers in the library. We will cover surefire books and literature selection as well as songs and fingerplays to captivate a young audience. Learn a few tips to address some storytime challenges like organizing materials, reading aloud to a group, and managing difficult situations. Presented by Kim Lehman.
  • Link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3836150268193167106

Title:  Google Drawings: An Introduction to Creating, Adding Shapes, Layering, and More

  • Organization: SimpleK12
  • Date: Saturday, January 14, 2017 @ 10:00 am – 10:30 am EST
  • Description: Google Drawings is a powerful free app that you and your students can use to create, edit, and collaborate on drawings and diagrams. While Google Drawings is fairly easy to use, it is helpful to know some basic features and tips so that you can readily begin creating and collaborating. Join Kim Munoz as she demonstrates step-by-step how to create and work with Google Drawings. As part of creating a drawing, she will show how to add, fill, and format shapes. In addition, Kim will show how to add text and other objects, as well as how to layer and combine them. Kim will also explain how to incorporate Drawings into Docs or Slides, as well as share them so that you and your students can begin using this awesome collaborative tool. How can educators draw on research into dialect variation and weave it into a reader’s or writer’s workshop? In this webinar, hear about sound strategies and creative lessons designed by a linguist with classroom experience that proved to be highly effective.
  • Link: http://community.simplek12.com/scripts/student/webinars/view.asp?id=2625

Title:  Integrate Google Drawings Across Content Areas to Support Learning

  • Organization: SimpleK12
  • Date: Saturday, January 14, 2017 @ 11:00 am – 11:30 am EST
  • Description: If you think that Google Drawings is only good for art class or for doodling, think again! While it is certainly good for those things, Google Drawings is also a versatile application that students and teachers can use to create numerous tools and projects that support learning. Join Lyn Hilt as she shares ways to integrate the use of Google Drawings across a variety of content areas to engage your students and enhance learning. Come discover how Drawings can be used for creating graphic organizers, designing newsletters, visualizing math concepts, and more.
  • Link: http://community.simplek12.com/scripts/student/webinars/view.asp?id=2626

Title:  Cultivating Empathy: The Best Antidote to Bullying

  • Organization: edWeb.net
  • Date: Monday, January 16, 2017 @ 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm EST
  • Description: Research is clear: Bullying is learned and can be unlearned. What’s more, cultivating empathy is the forgotten antidote to bullying. In this webinar, Dr. Michele Borba, Ed.D., shares evidence that the best way to reduce bullying is not with a packaged program but with homegrown, data-driven efforts by a staff that applies only proven practices. Best yet, none of these strategies cost a dime! 
  • Link: https://www.anymeeting.com/AccountManager/RegEv.aspx?PIID=EC58DB88864C38

Title:  Get Started with Live Online Adventures Via Skype!

  • Organization: SimpleK12
  • Date: Tuesday, January 17, 2017 @ 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm EST
  • Description: Would you like to inspire, engage, and excite your students while bringing the world into your classroom? Discover how to jump into a world of live adventures with Skype in the Classroom. Join Skype Master Teacher Darcy Grimes as she talks through the basic steps of getting started with this fantastic online community of educators around the world. She will share where you can find Skype Lessons and Virtual Field Trips to cover many different areas of the syllabus. As part of a focus on literacy, Darcy will show how to have amazing authors and writers Skyping live into your classroom!
  • Link: http://community.simplek12.com/scripts/student/webinars/view.asp?id=2623

Title:  Science and Math in Storytimes

  • Organization: Texas State Library and Archives Commission
  • Date: Tuesday, January 17, 2017 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm CST
  • Description: Children have an innate curiosity about the physical world around them. Storytimes offer a unique opportunity to help young children understand and organize information needed to make connections and solve problems. In this webinar, we will explore inexpensive, easy to implement science and math experiences using literature, fingerplays, activities and props. These ideas can be used in storytimes, as passive programming in the library or as resources for parents and caregivers to extend the storytime experience for further STEM explorations. Presented by Kim Lehman.
  • Link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2148042578279521283

Title:  Burnout or Bounce Back? Building Resilience

  • Organization: infopeople.org
  • Date: Thursday, January 19, 2017 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm CST
  • Description: We work in times of new roles for libraries, changes in technology, pressure to do more with less, and staff members who want to do it all and yet may lack time or resources. These pressures can contribute to a gradual grinding down, a loss of joy or a fading of enthusiasm and passion. In other words: burnout. Yet some in our field go on for decades, maintaining their energy and focus. How do they keep their freshness and fire? How do they maintain such resilience? Join change management expert Debra Westwood in this interactive webinar where attendees will learn to identify the factors that contribute to burnout as well as techniques for avoiding or alleviating those conditions. Additionally, they will learn skills and perspectives that they can apply at work and at home, and will come away a plan to put those new tools into action.
  • Link: https://infopeople.org/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=640

Title:  Storytime Crafts

  • Organization: Texas State Library and Archives Commission
  • Date: Tuesday, January 24, 2017 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm CST
  • Description: The process of creating offers children an opportunity to develop fine motor skills, cooperation, and a genuine sense of accomplishment. Working independently increases confidence and creative joy. We will look at developmentally appropriate craft ideas to use in toddler and preschool storytimes as well as tips and suggestions for implementing and organizing craft activities in the library. Presented by Kim Lehman.
  • Link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7345827667939382787

Title:  The Magic of Music in Storytimes

  • Organization: Texas State Library and Archives Commission
  • Date: Tuesday, January 31, 2017 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm CST
  • Description: Music, a universal language, adds so much to storytimes. Learn ways to use music with young children in storytimes through songs, movement, literature, puppets, and props. Using music in library programs is not about having the perfect voice or playing an instrument. It is about the magic that sounds and poetry bring to our shared experience. Whether you sing openly or in the privacy of your own shower, join us for fun and ideas. You will be inspired to warble a tune before the webinar is over. Presented by Kim Lehman.
  • Link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6112427409737449219



Author: Daniella Smith

Daniella Smith, PhD. is a former school and public librarian. She is currently the Hazel Harvey Peace Professor in Children’s Library Services at the University of North Texas.

Categories: Advocacy/Leadership, Blog Topics, Community/Teacher Collaboration, Professional Development, Student Engagement/ Teaching Models

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