School Librarians Working Together in Tennessee, Texas and Arkansas to Advance ESSA State Planning

Three additional states have added their voice to the call for school librarian participation in the development of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) state implementation plans. More than 175 school librarians and educational stakeholders in Tennessee, Texas and Arkansas attended workshops Nov. 13-15 highlighting the intersections between ESSA provisions and effective school library programs.

“Since July, Tennessee Association of School Librarians (TASL) members have been active in the ESSA implementation process working with the Tennessee Department of Education to gain ground as supreme stakeholders in the legislative process,” said Mindy Nichols, TASL president. “TASL members have provided vital feedback via online TNDOE forms and participation in a joint webinar with the Tennessee Library Association and Commissioner Candace McQueen’s top aides, so they were well-primed to begin the tangible work provided by the AASL workshop.”

“I was glad to learn in-depth details about ESSA, especially the important role school librarians will play,” said Christy Schade, president of the Arkansas Association of Instructional Media.  “My biggest task right now is to do my part in making sure we are included in my district’s and state’s plans.  I feel one of the most useful tools I walked away with is the elevator speech I developed to share with stakeholders.  My short speech will let them know the impact a school librarian can have on students when they, the students, have access to effective school library programs. Thank you, AASL, for the booklet, handouts, and expertise.”

“I think the best part of the entire workshop was the opportunity to network and share individual elevator speeches with feedback to improve,” said Becky Calzada, chair of the Texas Association of School Librarians. “Along with school librarians, we also had non-librarians in attendance including Becky Landa, Director of 21st Century Learning for San Antonio Independent School District, who provided insight into district budget processes and timelines that many librarians without administrator library representation found invaluable.”

Presented through collaboration with AASL state affiliates, AASL estimates the ESSA workshops will reach 1,500 stakeholders nation-wide. Participating state school library associations can be found at The AASL ESSA workshops are made possible through matching funds provided by Follett School Solutions.

Jennifer Habley
Manager, Web Communications
American Association of School Librarians (AASL)

Author: Jen Habley

Jen Habley is the AASL Manager of Web Communications. She manages the AASL websites, writes press releases, coordinates AASL’s online learning opportunities, and oversees AASL’s web 2.0 tools. When not working, Jen spends time researching her family tree, reading, and watching hockey.

Categories: Association News, ESSA Updates, News


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