A Canajoharie principal and a team Gloversville Middle School English teachers were honored for their work during the HFM BOCES School Library System’s annual awards luncheon Friday, May 12.
This year, two awards were presented including the SLS Administrator of the Year Award, which was given to Stacy Ward, principal of Canajoharie’s East Hill Elementary School. Another award, the Collaborative Teacher of the Year Award, was awarded to six Gloversville Middle School teachers. The award was shared by sixth grade reading teachers Michael Atkinson and Michele Zavadil, seventh grade English language arts teachers Liz McGregor and Christian Rohrs and eighth grade ELA teachers Holly Cook and Fran LeFever.
“Today’s libraries are more than just places to read books. Libraries are places were information literacy takes shapes,” HFM BOCES Deputy Superintendent Dr. Lorraine Hohenforst said. “These skills are more critical to our school programs and student achievement than ever before.”
Citing research that has linked strong library programs with students achievement, Dr. Hohenforst discussed several skills library media specialists teach including online searching, website evaluation, digital citizenship, online curation, how to use technology to enhance learning and more.
The SLS Collaborative Teacher of the Year Award is given to a teacher, or team of teachers, who exhibits excellence in working collaboratively with library media specialists to integrate information skills into classroom curriculum and use library media center resources and services to enhance student learning.
The award credits the GMS teachers for working with the school librarian, Megan Hallenbeck, to help students build on, and add to, the skills learned each successive year. Through projects in their classes, these teachers, in addition to ELA curriculum, incorporate information from other subjects, whether it’s science, social studies, or technology, depending on what each student chooses to research. Working in collaboration with the library, projects that were once done on index cards with out-of-date print resources, are now robust, inquiry-lead research projects.
The projects also take into account the different reading abilities of each student.
“With all library projects, the teachers and I strive to find research topics and articles that will match our students’ widely varying reading ability. This makes the research accessible to all students,” Hallenbeck said.
The Administrator of the Year Award is given to an individual who exhibits leadership in recognizing the library media center as an integral part of the total school program and has an active personal involvement in the program.
Ward is credited with seeing the value of the library as a collaborative partner with classroom teachers, and being an administrator who recognizes the role of the library media specialist in meeting the New York State Standards via collaboration.
“Because of Ms. Ward, I have had some amazing opportunities to take risks and deepen learning by being involved with in-depth student inquiry at all grade levels,” Canajoharie elementary and middle school librarian Audrey Maldonado said.
The luncheon was attended by teachers, librarians and administrators from several districts as well as by Assemblyman Marc Butler, Jennifer Conkling-Donovan representing state Sen. James Tedisco’s office, HFM BOCES Board President David Edwards and HFM board members Jean LaPorta and Lee Quackenbush.
HFM BOCES Culinary Arts students prepared and served the luncheon to celebrate the honorees in the BOCES Petit Café.
School Library System Director Deborah Booth thanked everyone who attended the luncheon for their strong support of library services.
To learn more about the HFM BOCES School Library System contact Booth at (518) 736-4370.