Something Familiar and Something New: Unpacking the Standards

Drs. Elizabeth Burns and Marcia Mardis discuss the new standards.

Did you get your copy of the new standards yet? I must tell you that I am officially excited about them. While I was at the conference, I attended the “AASL ESLS Research Symposium.” The purpose of the symposium was to get an overview of the standards and how they apply to research in school librarianship. I appreciated the overview. However, we just scratched the surface of the standards and I am by no means an expert. I desperately need to study them thoroughly before next semester.

Here are some of my takeaways from the session that I will keep in mind as I review my materials.

  • The standards are written to reflect both formal and informal learning environments.
  • Three approaches are addressed with applicable domains and competencies. These approaches are the school library program, the school librarian, and the learner. They are integrated to provide guidelines to help the school library program to align with what learners and school librarians are doing.
  • The common beliefs are still part of the standards. They serve as a starting point to help stakeholders understand the role of school librarians and the programs that we facilitate.
  • The roles of school librarians are still included, but not ranked. They are integrated throughout the standards to indicate that roles do not stand alone. Instead, school librarians often perform more than one role at a time.
  • Additional features of the standards include best practices, evaluation scenarios for learning, and examples of assessments.

Here are some additional features that I liked about the standards:

  • If you are looking for how to apply the standards to real-world situations, you will find over 200 examples of evidence to document your accomplishments.
  • There are at least 200 articles from experts for further professional development.
  • There is an assessment and evaluation section to help you to reflect on your practices.
  • There are several appendices. They include an annotated list of AASL position statements, Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights, and an Implementation Plan Overview.
  • Each part of the standards book indicates the appendices that can be used to supplement learning.

Here are a few ways that you can get familiar with the new standards and the resources included in them.

  • Host a “standards unpacking” day in your school district. I can’t take credit for this idea. The North Texas School Library Directors will be hosting an “unpacking” day soon.
  • Facilitate a book study based on the new standards.
  • If one day is too much for you, lean on your personal learning network through collaborative discussions on wikis, Facebook live chats, and Twitter chats.
  • Consider breaking down each section of the new standards during a professional development series with the teachers in your school.
  • Scan some of the suggested readings (during your precious spare time) in the areas that you feel you might need the most work.
  • Consider doing an “Appendix H: Evidence of Practice” challenge with your personal learning network. How many pieces of evidence can you produce in a month or during the school year?

As we discussed the standards during the symposium, it was agreed that the standards are a mixture of familiar and new competencies that will usher us into the future. It has been at least 10 years since the last standards revision. While becoming familiar with the new standards may require a lot of reflective practice, if you are currently in a school library, it is fine to implement the content in phases. As noted, the session that I attended was a research session, I will write more about the session in my next post. Rest assured that each step that you take to become familiar with the standards will make our programs, learners, and professional practices stronger.


December 2017 Professional Development

Title: Social Networking with Students and Parents: It’s Safer Than You Think

  • Organization: simpleK12
  • Date: December 2, 2017 @ 10:00 AM EST
  • Description: Many of us are all too aware to the prevalence of social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace and the attraction they hold for many of our students. Maybe you’ve thought of trying to establish a networking page to help connect with students and parents, but were concerned that it might not be safe, or perhaps the site you wanted to use was banned at your school. In this webinar, we will cover a number of reasons why you should create a social network site for school or classroom use and discuss the benefits of doing so. We will look at an example of a “safe” social networking site, Edmodo, and share some examples of some of the many things that you can do using it.
  • Link:

Title: Collaborating and Creating Content: Working Together for Authentic Audiences

  • Organization: simpleK12
  • Date: December 2, 2017 @ 11:00 AM EST
  • Description: When students work together they can create amazing content that is perfect for sharing, and when those students anticipate an authentic audience, they tend to apply themselves and work even harder. In this session, Monica Burns will share a variety of ways in which students can publish and create for real audiences so that the children see and appreciate the purpose in their learning. Monica will cover a variety of ways in which kids can collaborate across different subject areas with the goal of making a sharable project.
  • Link:

Title: Flipping Instruction for Struggling Students

  • Organization: simpleK12
  • Date: December 2, 2017 @ 12:00 PM EST
  • Description: Would you like to help your students learn the material before they arrive in class with flipped learning? Struggling students can review important points of a subject through viewing videos, infographics, playing games and more! Flipped instruction isn’t only video learning, but involves so much more to help all your students succeed in your class. In this webinar, Shelly Sanchez Terrell, will share tips and web tools for helping your struggling learners’ success with flipped instruction.
  • Link:

Title: The Healing Library: Lending Healing Experiences to Families

  • Organization: Infopeople
  • Date: December 5, 2017 @ 12:00 PM EST
  • Description: More than ever people are turning to libraries during times of crisis. As library workers, how can we ensure we care for our communities while supporting (and not replacing) our local wellness professionals? The Healing Library is a project that has been developed by librarians, a children’s literature advocate, and a holistic art and play therapist to assist families with healing in a healthy way while teaching parents the skills of looking critically at picture books and utilizing them to communicate with children. Currently three free lendable kits have been developed, including: The Death of a Loved One, The Death of a Pet, and When a Loved One Develops Alzheimer’s.
  • Link:

Title: Introducing Restorative Teacher-Student Mediation

  • Organization: net
  • Date: December 6, 2017 @ 4:00 PM EDT
  • Description: While rocky roads and challenges are an inevitable part of any school, unresolved conflicts can lead to high frustration and low motivation. Relationships matter, and the most important relationships in schools are between teachers and students. Children learn best when they feel their teachers care about them. In busy school settings, however, teachers and students often lack the time, place, or opportunity to build a trusting relationship. When students misbehave, traditional disciplinary actions remove them from the class and the root cause for the misbehavior is often not addressed. In this edWebinar, school psychologist Ondine Gross will discuss how to facilitate restorative teacher-student mediation—an easy, evidence-based intervention that reduces disciplinary actions and promotes wellness in a school community.
  • Link:

 Title: Online Security, Privacy, and Risk: How to Avoid Becoming a Headline

  • Organization: net
  • Date: December 7, 2017 @ 4:00 PM EST
  • Description: Stay off the front page of the paper! In this edWebinar, join Director of the Privacy Evaluation Initiative for Common Sense Media, Bill Fitzgerald, as he talks about defining and assessing levels of risk in the classroom and school. He will provide tools and simple checks that we can all do to make sure we are using the available tech tools in a way that does not violate student privacy or school security.
  • Link:

Title: Through the Hearts of Teachers Build the Minds of Children

  • Organization: net
  • Date: December 11, 2017 @2:00 PM EST
  • Description: Early childhood education teachers are raising America’s children. Our country is raising more children at a younger age outside of the home than ever before. In an effort to raise the quality of care and education, today’s teachers run the risk of becoming technicians rather than nurturing and intentional teachers.In this edWebinar, national early childhood specialist Steven Erwin will address and reflect on challenges that teachers face today and explore strategies that will strengthen the focus on children.
  • Link:

 Title: Creating and Using Infographics in the Classroom

  • Organization: simpleK12
  • Date: December 12, 2017 @ 3:00 PM EST
  • Description: You’ve probably seen Infographics – those graphics that are visual representations of knowledge or information. But have you given much thought to their possibilities in your classroom or school? Did you know how easy they are to make? Join Steven Anderson as he explores some simple tools you can use to create infographics. In addition to demonstrating how easy they are to create, Steven will also share a variety of ways in which infographics can be used for learning in the classroom.
  • Link:

Title: Understanding by Design Framework: Planning Stages and Examples

  • Organization: simpleK12
  • Date: December 13, 2017 @ 2:00 PM EST
  • Description: The Understanding by Design (UbD) framework, which is also referred to as backwards design, provides a sequential and purposeful process for curriculum design. If you want to be more intentional in your planning, UbD can help. In this webinar, Dr. Jayme Linton will walk you through the three stages of the backwards design process and share tips and examples to help you with your own curriculum and lesson planning.
  • Link:

Title: Blazing Your Own Path: Women in Education Technology

  • Organization: net
  • Date: December 13, 2017 @ 3:00 PM EST
  • Description: Early childhood education teachers are raising America’s children. Our country is raising more children at a younger age outside of the home than ever before. In an effort to raise the quality of care and education, today’s teachers run the risk of becoming technicians rather than nurturing and intentional teachers. National early childhood specialist Steven Erwin will address and reflect on challenges that teachers face today and explore strategies that will strengthen the focus on children.
  • Link:

 Title: Digital Citizenship Across Grade Levels

  • Organization: net
  • Date: December 13, 2017 @ 5:00 PM EST
  • Description: Let’s discover what student-centered digital citizenship programming looks like. Hint: It does not include the term “digital citizenship!” In this edWebinar, Michelle Luhtala, Library Department Chair at New Canaan High School, CT, will interview Jackie Whiting, Library Media Specialist at Wilton High School, CT, to discover how her district approached building a digital citizenship curriculum from the ground up. Jackie will share what makes the curriculum student centered, new terminology to consider, reframed objectives, and what served as inspiration for their work. All librarians are invited to attend this live, interactive session.
  • Link:

Title: From Tots to Teens: STE(A)M-powered Ideas for Programming

  • Organization: WebJunction
  • Date: December 14, 2017 @ 3:00 PM EST
  • Description: Whether you’re already full steam ahead with STE(A)M programming in your library or not sure how to get started or somewhere in between, there’s something for you in this webinar. Our presenters—”The Heathers”—are passionate about creating engaging and skill-building STE(A)M programs for kids from preschool age to teenage. Find out what to look for in a good program and hear their top picks for programs for each age range. Learn some tips, tricks and useful resources. Get inspired—you don’t need to be a scientist or engineer to have fun exploring and learning with the kids in your library.
  • Link:

Title: Going Deeper with Social Media

  • Organization: WebJunction
  • Date: December 19, 2017 @ 2:00 PM EST
  • Description: Learn how to take the next steps toward amplifying your library’s social media program. During this third webinar in our social media series, we’ll discuss best practices in growing your library’s social media program and managing user engagement. You’ll learn tips on assessing your library’s audience based on their preferred platforms and ideas for converting your in-person library community into an online community.
  • Link:

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: AASL National Conference, Blog Topics, Community, Professional Development

Tags: , , , ,

4 replies

  1. Daniella,

    I am awaiting my copy of the standards book for a full depth dive. In the mean time, could you please share a link to the full standards document so us librarians can get started on the learning path? There are all kinds of fancy printable things on the standards website, but I can’t seem to find the actual standards themselves anywhere on there? Am I missing them?

  2. I am so fortunate to have attended the AASL Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. It was an amazing conference for School Librarians. The unveiling of the new school library standards went very well. I have shared the standards with other librarians within my school district. I am hoping the our library leadership and district leadership embrace these new standards. I realize that it does take time to implement new standards for any subject area.

    I am on vacation this week from school and I am thankful for the break. However, I do have to finish some coursework for my graduate classes so I am not completely off the hook. As I reflect on my blessings this holiday season. I am grateful to begin working with Dr. Smith in the Spring of 2018. I am looking forward to learning a lot from her, and I am honored to be a part of something bigger than me. I am truly blessed during this Thanksgiving season.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Barbara Chappell-Brown
    Teacher Librarian
    Sweetwater High School

  3. Chris,

    I read your comment earlier, but see now that the response I had planned to post didn’t actually post. My apologies as amidst my post AASL National Conference and pre-Thanksgiving haze I believe I pasted it in and then didn’t hit the ‘post comment’. I’ll update that a bit now as we have a growing number of resources.

    As an educator and a learner yourself, you already know there are lots of ways to get started on the learning path and any number of paths appropriate for the individual learner. I’m excited about the work that has been done by so many members to ensure we, as school librarians, are learners as we look to the National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians.

    By now I hope you have a copy and are doing that deep dive or you might have been introduced to the NSLS through one of the many sessions in Phoenix. When you were on the AASL standards portal you must have also found the AASL Standards Framework for Learners on the Standards Framework that is available to download just as the previous Standards for 21st Century Learners were.

    The standards portal is a rapidly growing site so check it frequently. AASL members have developed numerous flyers, one-pagers, videos, and other resources with a comprehensive plan for more. I highly recommend listening to the webinars that are already posted and register for the upcoming ones. I’m looking forward to watching more of those throughout the spring.

  4. Hi Mr. Harris,

    I apologize for not seeing your post earlier. I agree with Ms. Norton. I believe the portal has a number of resources and videos that you will find helpful. As she stated, one of them is the Standards Framework: .

    As I continue with exploring the standards with my students like Mrs. Chappell-Brown (who I am excited to work with and learn from) next semester, I will be using the frameworks document and some of the resources on the website. So far, one of my favorite documents is, “Where do I start?” which provides steps for exploring the standards: .

    Happy Holidays,

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